What Skills Do You Need to Become a Baseball Professional?
Baseball is becoming an increasingly popular sport beyond the US for people to watch, play, and in some instances dream of one day being drafted by a Major League Baseball Team.
Here are a few reasons people love to watch and play baseball:
- The intoxicating atmosphere of laughter and cheer between family, friends, and fans during the game
- There’s no time limit in a baseball game, so there is no cap on enjoyment for players and watchers
- People can place a bet online to support their team and immerse themselves into the game
- The rules of playing are simple, and anybody can play
While the odds of playing professionally are slim, for instance, out of 100 NCAA senior male baseball players, 10.5% get drafted by an MLB (major league baseball) team. It’s not impossible.
The players that make it tend to be talented, practice diligently, and maintain a great physique.
So, whether you’re weighing up your chances of making it to the MLB or just curious about what it takes, read on for the skills aspiring players need to be in with a chance of playing pro.
Five skills player’s needs to play professionally;
- and hitting with power
For an explanation of the terminology, the importance of each skill, and the strategy needed for aspiring baseball players to succeed and become professionals, see below.
Each player on a baseball team has an objective to accomplish and a skill they need to maximize; for offensive players, it’s running. Because when the offensive player hits the ball, they must sprint to first base as fast as possible to avoid being struck out.
If the player hits the ball hard enough, the athlete should attempt to run through as many bases as fast as possible – the more bases the player can get to without being outed by the other team, the more likely he’ll succeed in the game.
Not to mention, defensive positions will need to run at times too. For instance, defense primarily aims to retrieve a hit ball to get the opposing player out quickly.
So, catchers and pitchers sometimes need to run to bases and stand in for defensive players who have left their base to get the ball.
Check out Kansas City Royals rookie Bobby Whitt Junior for a look at his impressive speed this season. He’s off the charts, sprinting an average of 30.4 feet per second.
Defensive players work in unison, with speed and agility, to get a hit ball out – this is called fielding.
Players in the right, center and left field (outfield positions) will try to catch a ball thrown near them. But if they can’t catch it where they are, they’ll retrieve the ball where it lands and throw it toward the infield as fast as possible.
In MLB, outfielders must throw well to move the ball from outfield to infield.
In fielding, players must keep a sharp eye on the ball and catch it when it’s close. Should the ball hit the ground and begin to bounce, players must stop it fast and move it to the correct base.
Fast and accurate throwing skills are essential for professional defense players.
To throw, the player moves the balls from their glove to their other hand, and if they’re aiming for a long throw, they need to gain momentum first to help the ball go far.
Throwing the ball close to the target is essential because missed throws could result in lost points.
Practicing the right and best way to throw a baseball and warming up the throwing arm before a game are just a few ways to improve this skill.
Some of this season’s best throwers include Julio Urías from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Verlander from the Houston Astros, and Miami Marlins Sandt Alcàntara.
Arguably one of the most challenging skills for players to master, hitting a baseball takes confidence, timing, excellent hand-eye coordination, strength, and speed. The player needs to judge the ball’s direction, the time to swing, the power to put into that swing, and when the player has to hit it.
Hitting drills are the best way for players to practice holding a baseball bat, the proper stance during the swing and hit, and the strength needed to carry the ball far.
Hitting for power
Once hitting is mastered, experienced players aim to hit for power, to make the ball fly up and beyond, giving the player a chance to dash across all the bases.
The above, combined with speed, strength, and momentum, can turn an ordinary hit into a hit for power.
To increase the power of a swing, players put their dominant foot forward and swing their bat to and throw intentionally to increase the speed and generate a powerful strike to the ball.
Look at New York Yankees Andrew Judge for an idea of what hitting for power means.
If becoming a baseball professional is your dream, providing you have talent and heart and can commit to perfecting the above skills, making the 10.5% of senior players that get drafted could be more feasible than originally thought.