Simple Things You Can Do To Be a Better Athlete: Part I

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I hear the same thing from college coaches and MLB scouts all the time: “I’m always looking for athletes.” While there is always a level of God given ability (just ask Domingo Ayala), there are things you can do to improve your athleticism.  Today we’re highlighting playing multiple sports, dancing (stay with me), and balance. Keep in mind that there are always other ways to do things and I encourage you to seek and find more information on helpful exercises that expand on my suggestions below. If you have good insight, please share it with everyone in the comment section below.

1. Play Other Sports

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Nowadays, if a high schooler wants to play baseball all year round, he can. It used to be that you played whatever sport was in season.  College coaches love multi-sport HS stand outs, because it shows a level of athleticism.  As you get into college and pro ball, playing other sports “for fun” doesn’t always go over well with the coach or organization because they don’t want you getting hurt.  Just ask the Brewers how they feel about Zack Greinke playing basketball this offseason (broken rib).  If you’re in high school, take advantage of the opportunity to play multiple sports. It will make you a better athlete and therefore a better ballplayer.

2. Dance with Rhythm

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I will spare you any videos of me dancing, but please know that I am an EXCELLENT dancer! While dancing can be fun, it also will help your footwork, coordination and balance, which are all positives on the ball field. It is usually fairly easy to find free or cheap dance lessons no matter where you live.  I prefer salsa dancing, but there are plenty of other types of ball room dancing that are great. It’s also a great way to meet girls or have a great date if you already have a lady. Incidentally, one of my favorite college classes, and most popular classes period, was Social Dance. Get started early. Trust me, you’ll improve footwork, coordination, balance AND if that wasn’t enough… Chicks dig a guy that can dance. You can thank me later.

3. Work on Your Balance
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How’s your balance? Not sure? Try this simple test: Lift one foot up so that your hamstring and calf make a 90 degree angle. When you’re ready, close your eyes and see how long you can balance before you start getting out of control (i.e., Moving your plant foot or making big movements to stabilize yourself). Do it for both legs and see where you stack up on the chart below. If you’re not able to balance 28 seconds, do this on a regular basis until you are. By taking 5 minutes a day, you will see improvement. Below are my balance attempts.

Challenge: Try the balance test and share your results in the comments section. BE HONEST and if you’re gonna get a better score than me, we might need to see video proof!

Comments

comments


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  • Captain D

    Personally, I’d have rather seen some salsa videos

    • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

      Hahaha, please feel free to post your own salsa videos Captain D.

  • Ryan

    Franco,

    I also found jumping rope to help with some rhythm as well. Not to mention it is a nice cardio workout to go with some speed work that day.

  • http://www.smithhealth.org SmithHealth

    were you closing your eyes during the balance test? does that help? I tried both legs and made it past 1 minute but didn’t have a stellar video production crew to capture me in action such as yourself… was that Citizen Cope playing in the back ground?

    • http://www.thenextlevelballplayer.com tstrick

      HealthySmith, the eyes are absolutely closed. That’s half the challenge. Otherwise you’re just playing Flamingo.
      Good call on the Citizen Cope. You’re ears are clearly better than your balance at this point, but keep practicing!

      • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

        @SmithHealth- 1 minute is super solid with the eyes closed. It took me a week or so to build up to the performance in the videos… Big ups to my professional camera crew. AKA Tstrick.

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  • http://www.artofbaseball.net Mark Brooks

    I had Citizen Cope “Let the drummer kick” as a walk out song in juco!

    • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

      Love me some Citizen Cope… My coach didn’t let us have walk out music in college- major disappointment!

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