If you’ve been around the baseball world for at least a short amount of time, you’ve probably heard the term “5-tool player.” Being considered a 5-tool player is desired by baseball players at all levels and is especially necessary when trying to make it to the next stage (i.e. making the high school team, being recruited by colleges or making it to the pro level).
The five tools include hitting for average, hitting for power, arm strength, fielding ability, and speed on the basepaths. Players such as Mike Trout and Mookie Betts come to mind when thinking about 5-tool players in the MLB. They are extremely talented and fun to watch!
At Masterful Mechanics Baseball, we also agree that possessing the five tools is paramount to success on the field, and increases your chances of making it to the next level. However, we have put together our own list of the five tools, and they slightly diverge from the conventional assets.
Our five tools include: hitting for average/power, throwing accuracy and arm strength, fielding prowess, mobility/athleticism, and mental acuity.
With the rise of sabermetrics and technology-enhanced training, we’ve created our list based on the importance of player assets coupled with the state-of-the-art technology that we use. These tools are trained directly during private lessons and are also introduced at our group classes and clinics.
We Use Five Specific Training Tools
Tool 1 - Hitting for Average and Power
Hitting for Average and Power – We believe that a hitter should be well-rounded and able to hit for average and power. By using the Blast Baseball Sensor and Mobile App, we can analyze a player’s swing data from a mobile app within seconds.
Blast Baseball Sensor and Mobile App is one of the best tools on the market for data-driven insights on player performance
“The industry’s most accurate motion capture sensor, integrated with automatic analysis, insights, player-coach communication and information/player management tools” (Blast Motion 2019). The sensor reads several types of data from the hitter’s swing and sends it directly to our phones, so we can analyze and improve swings on the spot.
The VeloPro harness connects batter’s hips, legs, and feet, helping them to understand biomechanics more intuitively.
The VeloPro is another interesting tool to improve hitting. It is a harness that connects the batter’s hips to their legs and feet. With this connection, the hitter can feel the advanced movements required to become a successful hitter.
This tool was “designed by MLB hitting personnel in conjunction with biomechanists, kinesiology experts, & nationally acclaimed hitting developers” (VPX Baseball 2020).
SwingRail helps hitters to develop a short, quick swing.
Our last hitting tool is the SwingRail. This product connects the hitter’s back arm to their bat which promotes a short, quick swing by keeping their hands inside the baseball.
The SwingRail “guides player’s hands through the swing, allows players to feel how to swing correctly and provides immediate feedback” (SwingRail 2020).
*We also utilize a number of tee and front toss drills to work on basic and advanced hitting techniques to improve contact and power.
Tool 2 -Throwing Accuracy and Arm Strength
Every baseball player needs to have arm strength and throwing accuracy. While this is especially imperative for pitchers, position players should also work on improving arm strength and throwing mechanics.
Data Driven Results through the Driveline Baseball Methodology
We proudly utilize the Driveline Throwing Program for all of our athletes, but pitchers can profoundly benefit from this training.
“We use a data-driven approach to test and retest our training methods to develop pitching velocity and command” (Driveline Baseball 2015).
At Masterful Mechanics Baseball we have adopted some of Driveline’s training methods and utilize tools such as Jager Resistance Bands, Plyocare Ball exercises, warm-up variations for pre-throwing and post-throwing recovery.
Top Velocity uses a number of technique-centric and medicine ball drills
Top Velocity is another great baseball development company that originated with increasing throwing velocity programs. They have a number of effective pitching techniques with throwing and medicine ball drills.
We utilize variations of Top Velocity’s pitching drills to guide players’ throwing mechanics and to build arm strength.
The VeloPro harness can also be used to improve throwing mechanics. It allows the player to feel the connection between their hips and back leg to keep their weight back and promote hip-to-shoulder separation.
With these different throwing programs, we customize training to practice drills that are going to individually benefit each player.
Tool 3 - Fielding Prowess
One of our students showing off his Fielding Prowess
Fielding Prowess – There’s a saying that defense wins championships, and solid fielding in baseball perpetuates this motto. At MMB, upon request, we work with players on the basic and advanced skills of infield, outfield and catching.
Quality fielding is derived from athleticism, so we focus on quick feet and taking efficient routes to the ball. There are countless drills to work on the ins and outs of different defensive positions, and we personalize fielding training to fit each player’s needs.
Tool 4 - Speed and Athleticism
Speed and Athleticism – Every baseball player needs to be athletic and feel comfortable on the diamond. The best way to promote a player’s natural athleticism is to properly train their body to become strong and mobile. Your body is your tool, so we place a heavy emphasis on preparing it correctly.
To prepare an athlete’s body to endure the stresses of playing the game, we use isometric/strength training, mobility work and utilize arm care.
Isometric training is our favorite way to strengthen and lengthen muscles. Isometric exercises are different from traditional weight-lifting exercises, because isometrics exert tension without changing the length of the muscle. This type of workout is typically categorized by holds or body-weight exercises.
Doctor Tommy John, son of the famous pitcher Tommy John, is a movement and healing specialist who has worked with hundreds of athletes in training and rehab. Most of the isometric exercises that we utilize are straight from his book, “Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance,” and workout regimen.
Tommy has years of experience and great insight in the athletic training field, so we trust that his isometric-style exercises are suitable for all athletes. At MMB, we create personalized training plans for players to increase strength and mobility, so they can withstand the physical stresses of playing baseball.
Dr. TJ’s comprehensive book details effective means in raising a child-athlete. He analyzes subjects such as training, nutrition, recovery and off-season plans.
“Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance” by Dr. Tommy John is a great tool for every baseball player and for parents raising athletes.
Mobility work is another important piece in preparing a baseball player’s body. The ability to move properly is the number one factor in preventing injury in athletes.
The majority of our mobility work is centered around Tommy John’s isometric exercises. A huge benefit of isometrics is that most of the exercises focus on strength, mobility and flexibility. It’s a three-headed monster dedicated to preparing your body correctly while also avoiding injury during training.
It’s also important to have a mobility routine, and of course Doctor TJ has something to cover that as well. He calls it his spinal hygiene routine, and it covers full-body mobility while centering its focus on the back and spine.
Spinal Hygiene YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iryqejKOUXU
Our final puzzle piece for athleticism is arm care. While most of these isometric exercises are going to cover arm care, there are some baseball-specific ones that we can also do.
Driveline Baseball provides some excellent arm care exercises for post-throwing recovery. Exercises done after throwing are just as important as your pre-throwing warmup, as post-throwing arm care shuttles blood to fatigued areas which aids in healing and also strengthens muscles needed for throwing a baseball.
Driveline provides a free PDF detailing their 8-week ballistic training program for pitchers. In this PDF, you can find their post-throwing arm care exercises.
Tool 5 - Mental Acuity
Always prepare for the next moment while maintaining focus.
Mental Approach – While this isn’t included in the traditional five tools of baseball, Masterful Mechanics Baseball believes that having a solid mental approach is clearly in the top five of importance. For this reason, we incorporate mental training and brain games into each lessons. We instill confidence and composure into our athletes and subject them to failure, so they can learn to play through tough times when they are struggling.
Information from books such as “The Mental Game of Baseball” and “The Mental ABCs of Pitching” both by H.A. Dorfman are incorporated into lessons. The mental side of baseball is the most overlooked and least practiced area of the game. However, it is one of the most important for dedicated athletes especially as players progress to playing at higher levels.
Once players reach high school, collegiate baseball and beyond, they all have the physical skills to perform at these elite levels. But what separates the good players from the great, is their mental baseball acuity.
A lot goes into the mental side of the game including effective preparation, a strong belief of success/self-confidence and quality intent/focus. To keep it simple, players should prepare mentally and physically for games, so they can have self-confidence that they are ready to compete. By doing this, players can simply focus on playing the game with enjoyment and avoid over-thinking during performance.
However to fully reach their potential, players should dive deeper into the mental side of baseball and athletics. There are numerous books that analyze this part of the game.
Two of our favorites include “In Pursuit of Excellence” and “Embracing Your Potential” both by Terry Orlick.
Orlick is a world-renowned leader in sport psychology, mental training and excellence. He has several books that are applicable to mental baseball training and is one of our favorite authors for this subject matter.
A baseball development company called Major League University is dedicated to improving the mental side of its players’ game. It was created by former professional player Austin Byler and has many great resources for strengthening mental acuity.
For more information on becoming a 5-tool player, visit our website to find information about purchasing our eBooks and links to our YouTube Channel that provides training videos for all areas of the game.
Click Above to visit our Youtube Page
Since we believe that baseball training should be well-rounded and personally customized, we pull drills from many different sources. There are several qualified baseball development companies out there today, besides MMB, and we continue to innovate our training by learning from the best.
We want you to reach your full potential as a baseball player which is why we offer free resources and information that anyone can utilize. You have the means, now becoming that 5-tool player is up to you!