Before an under-performing (worn breaks, worn tires, sluggish engine) sports car hits the track or streets, it’s in the garage getting a makeover with a new stable frame, high performance breaks, tires and an improved powerful engine. All the things to make it accelerate, decelerate and change directions (maneuver in & out of traffic). Same principle ought apply to our baseball players. But way too often, ball players are performing their maneuverability (SAQ drills) before the body is ready to handle the training loads these vast number of drills require. SAQ drills can have their place in the strength training program, but if not properly progressed, the outcome can often be problematic regards to hips, knees, ankles, feet, hammys, etc.
Recently, I was asked by coaches that their players take it easy in the gym when they are to train legs/hips; because they are implementing a lot of SAQ drills on the field and don’t want them over-training legs. HUH? Really? It’s as if they want to implement on-field SAQ drills in place of “legs day” in the gym. In my opinion, this thinking is backwards. We build strong, stable and powerful legs to withstand not only the training tolerances of SAQ drills but for the purpose of enhancing overall on-field/in-game speed. And, in my opinion a strong, stable, powerful lower half is made in the weight room (the garage) by implementing a lower body strength training protocol that includes a healthy dose of exercises such as; 1-leg squat, 1-leg RDL, split squats, lateral lunges, hops, ankle pumps, wall marches, etc.
Simply stated, 1-Leg training supports 2-Leg activities but 2-Leg training does not have the same transfer to 1-Leg activities.
So just why is 1-leg (1L) training so important? It all comes down to 1-leg stability at the hip, knee, and ankle. Greater 1L stability means greater amounts of forces (power) are available to be driven into and received from the ground; therefore, a quicker, faster athlete. You don’t always need special SAQ drills or toys or even external loaded pieces of equipment. Train 1L stability via the inclusion of 1-leg exercises (along with proper core stiffening program) then you can take your athlete out of the “garage” and turn them loose. Remember, the car gets built, improved and strengthened in the garage not on the streets.
In summary, it’s often been said that vitamins/protein shakes, etc (supplements) don’t take the place of food, they supplement food intake; Similarly SAQ drills don’t replace the required strength training, they supplement proper strength training.
Don’t over think, or over train the game…out train it.