THE FIVE TOOLS
The 5 Tools are core athletic skills required to be successful in the game of baseball. Varying in importance by position, these tools are critical components of an individual player’s make-up.
1. RUNNING SPEED
Speed is the most “innate” (genetically predisposed) of the 5 Tools. It is possible to enhance a ballplayer’s speed, but substantial gains are dependent upon the athlete himself. Players with speed are counted on to make things happen and are catalysts both offensively and defensively in the game of baseball. Scouts look at speed, and know that if a player has it he is well on the way to becoming a 5 Tool player. Elite Five Tool Fit instructors work to improve running speed by improving form, efficiency of movement and first-step quickness.
2. ARM STRENGTH
Arm strength is often rated as the “least important” of the 5 Tools, but arm strength can be a lethal weapon in any defensive position. Along with arm strength, muscle endurance is an often overlooked area for baseball players. Pitchers realize the importance of muscle endurance – being able to throw hundreds of pitches weekly – but what about the shortstop who needs to make plays day in and day out, or the outfielder looking to gun down a baserunner at the plate? Arm strength AND endurance are two critical areas emphasized by Elite Five Tool Fit instructors.
3. HITTING FOR AVERAGE
Lets face it, to score runs you need baserunners. Good hitters hit for average first and power second. Hitting for average requires the ability to hit to all fields and assess defensive situations – knowing when to hit to the right side, when to bunt, or being able to make contact when the hit and run is on. Hitting for average requires good decision-making ability and good pitch selection at the plate, foundational skills that are highly emphasized by Elite Five Tool Fit instructors.
4. HITTING FOR POWER
The most obvious benefit of this Tool is that extra base hits increase a team’s chances of scoring. Power hitters also add an intimidation factor. Barry Bonds drew a record 198 walks in 2002, taking his on-base percentage to over 500. Power hitters have recently emerged because athletes recognize the importance of strength and conditioning programs, and the fact that power hitters generally demand the best contracts. Home runs and doubles off the wall are a fan, and scout, favorite. Elite Five Tool Fit instructors work to refine the athlete’s swing and maximize his physical abilities to hit the long ball.
Scouts will often say a player has “good hands.” In reality, good hands – or good fielding position – is the result of a number of factors working together that make difficult plays look simple. Middle infielders, catchers, and outfielders must have the defensive skills required to take away base hits, know how to “read” a hitter, and know how to react and position themselves for the best chance for success. Elite Five Tool Fit’s fielding instructors start with the basics and work to develop a functional approach to fielding fundamentals at all positions.