View Full Version : Developing fast twitch muscle fibers in kids

Mike Ryan
07-03-2007, 08:09 AM
Hi All,

Now I know where you all dissappeared to. Robb, great job with the site and the PM. I like how you have incorporated the martial arts articles into the journal. I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few days to catch up on things!

My question... My son is 11 and a very good baseball player. However, he is pretty slow. Once he gets going he moves OK, but getting that first step toward a ground ball or out of the batters box is a problem. I try to keep him interested in the X-Fit kids type workouts and his strength and endurance are comming along. Does anyone have any specific recommendations on how to develop that quick first step? Thanks for any thoughts....


Garrett Smith
07-03-2007, 08:51 AM
I'd say start with two simple things, these worked with a client of mine to bring him from the slowest on the team (painfully slow and awkward, according to his mom) to the middle of the pack within several months.

Basic strength training (don't worry about the metcon, especially for baseball)
Basic joint mobility (this will improve proprioception, something many kids these days lack from insufficient "play" time)

Chris Forbis
07-03-2007, 09:11 AM
Might check out Kelly Baggett's stuff.


Neal Winkler
07-03-2007, 09:29 AM
Basic strnegth training, and LOW INTENSITY plyometrics to give him what Kelly Baggett would call good feet (http://www.higher-faster-sports.com/GoodFeetBadFeet.html).

Furthermore, check out this interview (http://www.iyca.org/c8/speed-training-with-lee-taft-c53.html) with Lee Taft, and check out the rest of the stuff at the http://www.iyca.com site.

Quick tip: Don;t have your kid specialize. If he plays a wide variety of sports he will become a better athlete down the line.

Dave Paton
07-03-2007, 02:31 PM

This doesn't address your question at all, but if your son has aspirations of playing on varsity or beyond, IMO he should focus most of his additional time on hitting. Your money is made--so to speak--at being a good hitter. being fast out of the box is a plus, but being able to hit the ball over the fence is a lot more valuable to a team. Baseball is game like tennis where playing as a kid is a must. you have to be able to develop your hand-eye coordination and the work that he can get in now, will pay off in the future. He's only 11 and his body may change drastically over the next few years and he may not be as slow when he gets older and grows into his body. I just think the hitting aspect will pay greater dividends in the future than trying to develop fast twitch muscles at 11 years old. The fast twitch muscles could be the icing on the cake when he's around 15 years old. But that's just my opinion.

Mike ODonnell
07-03-2007, 05:05 PM
Does anyone have any specific recommendations on how to develop that quick first step?

Hate to be so simplistic...but practice what you want to improve...explosiveness from a dead start and change of direction through deceleration/acceleration are usually found in top athletes. Practice quick feet, explosiveness, power strides, agility work, plyometrics and single leg strength training will do great things in that area. I worked next to a speed school that made a ton of money every day just making kids do the simple things. Or just go old school.....drive into NY, get out of the car, walk 100 meters away into a crowd and yell "Yankees suck"...that will improve anyone's speed....;)

Mike Ryan
07-04-2007, 05:34 AM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Garrett, it is very true that kids lack sufficient play time these days. When I was a kid, I was outside running, biking, climbing, and anything else you can think of all day long. Today, it's video games and TV and a challenge to get the kids to go out and play. I checked out the Kelly Baggett link and I will get him to work on the dot drill and some of the other agillity things like the ladder. This is where I was leaning to begin with. I

I have trained in judo and Japanese jujitsu since I was about 15 and a few years ago I got my son into Judo as a suppliment to soccer and baseball. We go when it doesn't conflict with the others but it hasn't done for him what I had hoped as far as footwork. A guy in my area recently opened a dojo and he teaches BJJ and muay thai and has a kids class that I think will really improve his hand and foot speed, so we will give it a try. I have been looking for a something new for both of us for a while so this will be fun.

David, we spend a ton of time on hitting and I am very proud of Andrew's accomplishments with the bat. I think the highlight so far is as a 9 year old playing in an all star fall ball league, he hit his first HR over a 200' fence off a good 12 year old pitcher.

It's funny how I get more excited about seeing Andrew succede than I ever have about any of the successes of my athletic career.

Oh and Mike... We are die hard Sox fans so the whole Yankees Suck thing is like second nature. I certainly know better than to utter that phrase in public anywhere near NYC. I have a friend though who wore a "brokeback Jeter" T-shirt to yankee stadium. He got a beer spilled on him in the second inning. I think he got off easy....

Thanks again for the replies. Mike

Pat McCarthy
07-10-2007, 11:27 AM
First post here as I am usually just a lurker who sucks up knowledge from the guys on this board but I had to comment on this thread because coaching and training kids is one of my real passions.

First of all, it's always great seeing a father who not only wants his son to succeed in athletics but is also actually looking for healthy constructive ways to do it. All too often I see fathers who put tons of pressure on their kids but do nothing but hamper their development.

As to your son, I would second the suggestion of crosstraining in multiple sports, something you obviously are already doing. Exposure to different movement patterns and skills at his age will lead to much better coordination and explosive potential when he reaches puberty. When I was at that age, I tended to be near the pack of the pack in sprints and such, but I loved sports and it's the love of the game that leads to the work ethic to improve. Hours of touch football, pick-up basketball, and pickle did much more for my skills development than all the elite baseball and football camps I attended in the summers.

As to developing his first step, I would suggest picking up a speed ladder and teaching him some footwork drills. I have seen ladder drills turn the clumsiest kids into quick feet champs. I personally think ladder drills develop a level of coordination that significantly helps when the kids hit their eventual growth spurt that give other kids fits.

Personally, I wouldn't sweat it that much. From what I can deduce from this thread, you seem to be encouraging your son to compete in a variety of sports that you are actively helping him to succeed in. He'll continue to develop naturally, and while he may not end up being a professional athlete, when he's older I am sure he will more than grateful for having a father that took an active role in his life, which is all too rare in our society.

Robb Wolf
07-10-2007, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the props!

Thanks for the phenomenal first post.