Baseball is a great sport with versatile required skills, making it really fun to play. However, these skills need a lot of practice to become a great baseball player. In fact, only a handful of baseball players are excellent in all of the baseball skills required.
So, what are the needed skills?
The five skills required in baseball are batting, baserunning, fielding, throwing, and catching.
The greatness of a baseball player is determined by how good the player is at these skills and how many of them are mastered.
As said, it’s very rare to be world-class in every five skills. You need to be at least good on all of them, but being excellent in all five isn’t necessary to secure a place on the team. Many players have only a couple of true strengths, whereas others are behind.
Let’s learn more about these skills individually to understand the requirements for each skill and why they are important.
Batting, hitting, swinging, you name it, is one of the most important baseball skills. Each player will have three chances to hit the ball to proceed bases when your team is on offense. When the player hit’s the ball well, it’s time to sprint onto the first base.
Batting isn’t as simple as it sounds, as it requires multiple skills to succeed. These are power and accuracy.
When you can hit for power, you will require physical strength in your arms and core to add the velocity on the baseball so it will fly faster and further, making it harder for the defensive team to catch and burn you before getting to the base.
Accuracy, however, is required to strike the ball in the right part of the bat. The sweet spot is where you want to hit the ball every time, as the ball will absorb the most forward momentum from it and rebound from the bad with the optimal speed. There are big differences in sweet spot sizes in baseball bats.
In addition to hitting the ball with the right part of your bat, you should aim the ball as well, which means you won’t swing the ball directly on the first player’s glove. Instead, you should aim the ball far to the outfield, in a difficult position for the fielders to catch without it hitting the ground.
In addition to all of this, there are concepts of hitting for average and hitting for power.
Hitting for average is the most used method to determine a baseball player’s success at the plate. The batting average is determined by dividing a player’s hits by his total bats for a number between zero (shown as . 000) and one (1.000).
Generally, a batting average of .300 is an excellent achievement, whereas 0.400 is almost impossible. In fact, only 20 players in the MLB history have batted over 0.400, and only five have been able to repeat it.
Hitting for power means that a player has a higher than average ability in batting. Meaning an ability to hit more home runs, in addition to doubles and even triple extra-base hits.
Both extra-base hits and home runs are extremely valuable in baseball because one batter can achieve much more than an average, giving the at-bat maximum value for the team.
Related: Do MLB Players Buy Their Own Bats?
2. Base running
Baserunning often doesen’t set people apart as much as batting or throwing, for example. However, it’s still an essential part of baseball that results in a run, which results in victories.
Don’t get me wrong. You can be an incredible baserunner and make a big difference in the game. For example, Carl Crawford stole six bases in 2009 against the Boston Red Sox, an incredible achievement that can set the team up for success.
So what is required for good baserunning? Well, the most notable skill is explosive speed. When the batter hits the ball, and you see it’s a good swing, you need to launch from the base with explosive speed to gain enough momentum to reach home or the next base quickly enough not to get tagged.
To gain explosive speed, you need strength in your large muscles with exercises such as squats, power cleans, vertical jumps, or hill sprints. These are just some of the great examples that will increase explosive power.
Another important aspect of well-executed baserunning is the right sliding technique. Generally, you can slide feet first or head first, and there is a right time for both of them.
Sliding benefits include reducing your size, so you are harder to tag, decreasing the chance of overrunning the base by rapidly slowing down momentum, and interfering with the defensive baseman.
It’s also a great way to avoid injury quickly if the baserunner can see a collision with the baseman. However, the improper sliding technique is also a way to get injured.
Fielding includes throwing and catching, which are separate skills in the five baseball skills. However, it’s so much more versatile than that. So what is fielding? Generally, fielding is anything that players do on the defense when expecting the ball, getting hold of the ball, or trying to move the ball forward.
I will discuss throwing and catching more in-depth below, but what else does fielding include?
In fielding, perhaps the most important skill to master is game intelligence or game IQ, as they say. Baseball IQ is how you exploit opportunities, read the game, and notice risks on the field. This means how well you can anticipate and act to the things about or are happening.
For example, as a shortstop, you need to have an excellent game IQ. That’s because as the ball can come from many directions, you need to watch the players on the bases, anticipate whether they will try to steal a base, think forward about the next plays, and so on.
Another fielding skill that is highly required is speed. You need to do everything with haste, without forgetting quality. This means fielding ground balls, tagging, running to catch the ball, taking the ball out of your glove, throwing, and reacting to the things that are happening on the field.
Last but not least, flexibility is of the essence. Flexibility is needed in many things in baseball, such as reaching to tag a baserunner.
Also, flexibility improves the range of motion as you are more flexible. Your muscles and joints can move further in every direction. This is especially important when pitching, as you will be throwing so hard that each inch of your flexibility is needed.
Oh, and when you take a sprint, slide to base, swing at full power, and you name it, it reduces the chances of injuries. When you are stiff, there is more stress placed on the used body parts, and the range of motion is shorter, which will cause more soft tissue sprains and injuries.
You might wonder why baseball players spit. There are many reasons for that, but one of them is serious fielding, which can lift the dirt in the air, and thus, it can find its way to the player’s mouths, causing them to spit.
Throwing as a fielder and pitching as a pitcher needs to be done well, even to play baseball in the first place. All defensive players must throw at some point, including the catcher.
Even when catchers doesen’t require super accurate and strong throwing arms, they need to throw the ball back to the pitcher with accuracy, or otherwise, the offensive team has much better chances at stealing bases.
Anyways, the most important skill in throwing is accuracy. The baseball won’t reach the target without accuracy, no matter how much power and speed you generate.
To throw an accurately, you need a firm grip on the ball, look at a small target of the overall target, point at the target when throwing, and follow through with the throw. These are the key elements that will drastically improve your pitching accuracy.
In addition, at least a decent arm strength is needed to throw the ball fast enough to complete the needed task, such as tagging a baserunner.
Thus, a proper strength training routine should be implemented in addition to a well-thought nutrition plan to maximize arm strength improvement. With that, your pitching speed will drastically improve.
No one does more throwing than the team pitcher, who has special requirements for throws. For example, pitchers have various grips to modify the ball’s natural course to be harder for the batter. Also, incredible arm strength and health are needed because pitchers in the MLB throw an average of 100 full-powered pitches per game. For this, you can’t be weak or even average in strength.
Catching is the final piece of the puzzle that baseball couldn’t work without. The art of catching is needed from every baseball player on the defense, as each position needs and depends on it.
Catching requires a couple of demanding skills. One of the most important ones is hand-eye coordination. If you can focus on the ball and place your glove hand so that the ball will always find its way securely inside the glove, you have succeeded as a catcher.
Another important skill is reflexes. In baseball, the game’s speed is very high, so when a batter hits the ball, or another player throw’s you the ball, you need to react extremely quickly to position yourself for an optimal position to catch.
Speed is of the essence as well when you have cached the ball. The correct catching technique is where you use both of your hands to quickly secure the ball on the glove so you won’t drop it and to quickly take it out and move it forward if it needs to be forwarded.
Last but not least, a catcher’s position is one of the most vital ones in a baseball team. All of the mentioned skills are enhanced for a catcher because the pitches can be fast, so excellent reflexes, speed, and hand-eye coordination are needed. In addition, strong legs, knees, and discipline are demanded because excessive squatting can be very tiring.
All things considered, these are the five baseball skills you need to thrive on the field and help your team to victory!
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.