Agility directly relates to base running, because you have to be able to change direction swiftly. Being aggressive on the basepaths puts pressure on the defense to make a good throw or catch, which can ultimately lead to mistakes by them and runs for you.
Because being able to stop and start fast is so important, we perform a lot of ladder and cone drills. They help baseball players understand how their bodies fail when they're moving like that.
One key to changing direction is having an awareness of the inside and outside edges of your feet, because that means your body is in an active, ready position. To accomplish this, we perform an Inside-Outside Edge Ladder drill twice a week in the off-season.
In an athletic stance to the left of and facing down the ladder, we jump with both feet diagonally over the ladder, landing heels-first (repeat in opposite direction). [This] helps recruit the glutes, which are a big part of motion, extension and rotationeverything involved with base running. Start by performing 4 reps [one rep is one time up and down the ladder], with 30 seconds rest. As you become flawless with the technique, increase the reps, never going higher than 8.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock