The 60 yard dash is the sprint used to measure speed in baseball. For many years it was considered the way to evaluate how fast a player is. But is it anymore? A lot of Major League teams have taken the 60 yard dash out of their Spring Training tests for their players. Scouts are still using the 60 yard dash to evaluate speed at the high school and college levels, but with the trend in the Major Leagues changing, how long will the 60 yard dash last there?
The problem with the 60 yard dash is it is a straight sprint for 60 yards. You may be thinking…”ok, so what’s the problem?”. Well, the problem is that you will NEVER run 60 yards STRAIGHT in a baseball game. You are either running AROUND the bases, tracking down a ball in the outfield, or fielding your position somewhere else on the field that won’t require you to run 60 yards straight. So, why the heck do we run the 60 yard dash?
I don’t know the answer to that, but with the recent swing in trends at the Major League level I got to thinking. What if there was a different test that could be used to better evaluate the speed of a baseball player. Here are some of my ideas…
From 2nd to Home
By evaluating a player running from second to home, we will still be running 60 yards. It will just be with a curve in it. I guess it will actually come out to be more than 60 yards because the player won’t be running in a straight line. This all sounds good but there are a few issues with this race. Even though this could be a more realistic run in baseball, in the games, we are allowed to lead off. So how would we time a players ability to take a lead, read the pitcher, and get a good jump? We couldn’t. So, the only way to keep this race consistent would be to have the player actually start on second base (which will never happen in a game).
A shuttle may be a viable alternative, but how long would it be? Would it be a 60 yard shuttle broken up in to 6 ten yard sprints? Or would it be better as 30 yards down, 30 yards back? Or is there a better alternative shuttle to the 60 yard dash? I like the idea of a shuttle because it will show the athletes ability to stop and start (or change of direction speed). Major League teams are actually already using a shuttle called a 5-10-5, but it is not an alternative. It has been being used before the 60 yard dash was dropped and is only a 20 yard shuttle.
I think the best option would be to have a combination of speed and explosion tests in baseball. Instead of just doing a second to home sprint, or just a 60 yard shuttle, we should have 4 tests. Here are my suggestions…
1) Replace the 60 yard dash with a second to home run (starting on second)
2) Replace the 5-10-5 shuttle with a 40 yard shuttle (4 ten yard sprints in shuttle fashion)
3) Replace the standing broad jump with a side ways broad jump (why not, baseball is a side to side sport and being able to create force through those angles can be measured this way) It would be better than the standing broad jump.
4) Keep the vertical jump test
Here are some of the test that some MLB teams use that should be eliminated all together (not mentioned already above).
1) Cone hops – pointless
2) 300 yard shuttle – why?
3) 5 yard burst – just another station to waste time!
4) and if any organization has any kind of distance timed running, take that out immediately. I think Kenny Powers said it best when he said “I play real sports. I ain’t trying to be the best at exercising!”.
So, what do you think about the 60 yard dash? Have any other ideas for alternatives to the 60? Leave your comment below!
Also, since scouts at the high school and college levels are still using the 60 yard dash, why not learn a few secrets to getting better at it. Check out my other website on the 60 yard dash were there are 8 free videos on how to run a faster 60.