Why Are Baseball Players Evaluated In The 60 Yard Dash?

Is Speed That Important In Baseball?

These are both good questions that come up from time to time. Why is a 60 yard dash used to evaluate baseball players and is speed important for a baseball player?

Speed and quickness is a plus for any baseball player, espcially for a middle infielder or outfielder. You cannot coach speed and a player with above average speed can make things exciting in the field and on the bases.

Speed alone is not a factor that makes for a great player. But if a player has great baseball instincts in addition to quickness, then a player can be above average. Tracking down a fly ball in the outfield, fielding a ball in the hole at deep short, or hitting a ball in the gap and burning up the base path for a triple (when most players would settle for a double) are only a few of the exciting things that speed can bring to the team.

While we understand that overall speed is God given and something that you cannot teach, players can work to improve their running times. There's an old say "you can't make a race horse out of a mule", but mules are important also and it's always good to try to improve no matter what area. Improvement can even make a player more athletic and help them in developing more confindence. Players can improve times with a quality strength and conditioning program and working to improve running techniques.

Some of the running flaws that can be corrected to improve a player's speed include:

  • Swinging their arms across their body instead of straight ahead.
  • Blocking out the arms with improper arm action.
  • Running straight up instead of with a forward tilt.
  • Not running in a straight line.
  • Running with a stiff upper body and/or stiff arms.
  • No drive or lift in the legs. The knees stay low.

    A good track coach can teach a player proper techniques and help to improve flaws.

    Why does baseball evaluate a player's running time in the 60 yard dash and football takes a time in the 40 yard dash?

    In football, a player runs 4-5 yards before being tackled, so they need a quick burst of speed over a shorter distance. Good running backs average 3-4 yards per carry and the top receivers average 15-20 yards per catch, and much less after the catch. (**DeSean Jackson of the Eagles had the most catches over 40 yards in the NFL during the 2009 season with 10). The same applies to defensive players whether they are defensive linemen, linebackers, or defensive backs. A 40 yard dash is sufficient to measure the time that is needed on a footbal field.

    The 60 yard dash time is a better indication of what speed is needed on the baseball field. The time from first to third is 180 feet (60 yards), but the overall running time for baseball is more important for middle infielders and outfielders, especially a centerfielder. An average major league time for these positions would be 6.9-7.0, with a major league center fielder running a time of 6.5-6.6. But the running time is not important for a power hitting first or third basemen, or a catcher. With power hitters they must possess good bat speed and power potential. A power hitting outfielder usually has close to average major league speed with the power potential of a corner infielder. Of course pitchers must possess arm strength and control, so the running time is not important. However, scouts always like to see pitchers that are athletic and even play other positions, so a running time for a pitcher (or catcher) under 7.4 shows athletic ability.

    A good running time from home to first base would be 4.4 seconds for a right handed batter and 4.3 seconds for a left handed hitter.

    If you would like to learn more about how to improve your player's running times check out this informative information on Baseball's 60 yard dash.Click Here!
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