What does it take to win a baseball game? Most baseball enthusiasts and players know, of course. But for someone who is new to the sport, it may be quite difficult to understand how a baseball game is won.
To win a baseball game, the players need to have a good defence and hit. Any baseball battling team that has a problem with the lower level of their batting order or power gaps should put in more effort on their team hitting.
While that is being improved, the team can still win games by putting up a wonderful defence that prevents the opposition from scoring with many runs. With constant practice, the team and individual fielding get better. The team can improve their outfield and infield skill level by carrying out fielding drills from high school baseball.
As soon as the team is perfect at the basics of fielding, they can then proceed to do tougher drills that focus on cutoff throws and performing double plays. These drills help to make the players swifter and boost their reflexes so they are able to challenge the opponents and reduce their runs.
A player positioned in the infield has to build a particular skill set that suits their exact position.
First, the drill should train basemen to stretch so they are able to grab on hop throws that the third base and shortstop plays, while also being able to pick off runners that command a distance from the bag. The third base and shortstop players have to learn to catch with the backhand and bare hand while also making a perfect throw to the second and the first.
1. Pitcher Covers First Base Drill
This kind of drill is meant to build pitchers manning the first base (check out our first base drills) after a home throw. Immediately the pitcher can run from the mound to reach the first base foul line, then it is necessary for them to create a runner and a baseball with a game simulator.
While on the field, the coach does not leave the first base area while the pitcher takes up a position at the mound. It takes less than ten minutes to complete this drill and it should be carried out for more than ten times. The pitcher will benefit from more repetitions as it helps them execute the play in a better manner.
- Pitcher moves in a similar direction as a home pitch
- He cuts and makes a straight run to the foul line until he gets to the initial cut in the infield grass
- On reaching the foul line, he runs to the first base but on a parallel move to the foul line
- The pitcher on the bag receives the baseball from the coach
- The pitcher uses his foot to stroke the first base bag for the out.
Be certain that your pitcher understands that as he makes a parallel run for the foul line towards first in, he has to approach the first base bag with little rough steps. The concentration of the pitcher should remain on the ongoing game around him rather than the play he's taking part in. He should know where the runners are and know how to figure out the position to throw the baseball when his foot has tagged first. He should always keep his hands up so that the ball thrower can throw to a big target. By all means, the pitcher does not have to encroach into the runner's path and also refrain from coming too close to the baseline.
2. Infield Momentum Drill
To do this drill, it is important to keep four traffic cones handy. One of the requirements is that your infielders do not just run towards the ground balls for catching rather they creep up on it from the side.
The arrangement of the cones is done on any position of the field, as long as there is grass. Put several cones on the field in a reverse L shape making sure to keep them five feet apart. Make a space beside the third cone for a baseball to fit, and the fielder will come close as he runs to meet it but around the cones.
- The fielder takes a stand just behind the first cone. Then he stands in a ready position at the back of the first cone (the horizontal edge of the reverse L).
- He opens his legs to be on both sides of the cone
- On a prompt from the coach the player runs around the next cone and meets up the ball at the third cone
- He then bends and makes a simulation of picking the ball before throwing to his left, barehanded
- Finally, he returns to the initial position and the next infielder continues the drill
The player who goes through this momentum drill is expected to learn from dribbling the cones, how to face the ball by approaching from the side.
3. Three Cone Footwork Drill
To do this drill, you have to get three triangles shaped traffic cones. Place the middle cone nearest to the coach, while he throws to his players the ground balls. Place the other cones behind the first cone to form a triangle at a 9 feet distance. Let the player stand behind the two cones at a three-yard distance and the front middle cone should be placed right in his front. The players' footwork is expected to improve after this training.
- The middle cone is placed right in front of the player who assumes a ready position
- The coach shows him one of three cones to toss the ground ball at Throw to Middle Cone
- Left-handed players approach the ball from left and the right do the same
- The fielder remains inside the triangle but runs to the right, then bends before fielding the ball
- The player finds his best throwing position and tosses the ball
The backhand throw gets better with this part of the training as it concentrates on soft hands and footwork.
- The coach points towards the back left cone and toss a ground ball
- The player makes a backhand move to put his gloves on the grass
- He stands and removes the ball from the gloves before throwing
- Coach throws a ground ball to his right cone
- The fielder drops his glove on the ground
- The ball is put into his glove
- The fielder assumes a throwing position, spins his body and throws the ball
4. Ready Position
What does it take to catch a ball? You do not just look towards the ball and try to catch it. You have to coordinate yourself and make sure you have top-notch footwork. The infielders should naturally be in the ready position so they can go through the process of fielding, catching, and throwing faster. An infielder with the ability to save the retrieve of the ball, even for one second may be what makes an out or a single.
Any part of the baseball field is good enough to carry out the ready position drill. Bring all your infielders together and coach them the right way to assume a ready position. Arrange the players so they each have a three feet distance between each other. The coach should observe them and ensure that they are in the correct ready position. Standing on the balls of the feet is the right position for the players to stand-in
Check that they are doing these:
- They bend at the knees and spread their feet and legs. They should make wide stances so they are not pushed out
- Every player's butt should be low
- both the free arm and the glove arm should be on the ground. Let it nearly touch the ground.
The coach can assist the players by doing a simulation of ball throwing. When the coach raises his arms to throw, the fielder should know how to squat in a ready position. Monitor the infielders one after the other. The legs should be spread, gloves placed on the ground and rear down low.
Take note that the bodies of the infield players who ground balls should be at a low level.
5. Ready Position Throwing Drill With a Wide Stance
The infield dirt, right at the grass edge is the spot for the infield players to line up. The coach comes with a bucket of baseballs and stands at a distance of 15cm.
- The first fiedler assumes a crouching position, spread his legs and positions to be ready
- The coach throws a direct ground ball to the fielder
- The fielder drops his gloves on the ground and drops the ball in the glove.
- The fielder returns the ball to the coach still assuming a wide base stance
- The player takes a position at the back of the line.
- Coach tosses the ball to the next player who catches the ball in a crouch position.
Allow every infielder to make at least 10 crouch attempts and then throw the ball back. It should take about 10 minutes to complete this drill.
6. Double Play Drill – Shortstop and First Base– Outside of Second Base Bag (7-6-3)
The majority of the double play situations that are seen in a game are facilitated by the shortstop position especially if in the game, the runner is either approaching second base from the first or running on the second base already.
The shortstop will produce double plays if he can arrange in top defensive form.
If there are several successful double plays the vibe of a game can change. You need great footwork, fast reaction, split-second reflexes, and consciousness to turn a double play.
While the shortstop moves and makes the throwing spin, it is necessary that he doesn't block the path of base runners to prevent injuries.
The coach employs his first baseman and shortstop in this drill. He positions the fielders and throws or bats the ball to them. The main concentration is on the shortstop and to know how well he makes contact with the second base bag prior to throwing it to the first. The training is also necessary for the first baseman to learn to stretch his leg to the bag at the same time with his body so he can use his glove to catch the ball after it's thrown.
Keep the shortstop and first baseman in position then hit a ground ball to first base. Let him field it and throw it back to the shortstop who is going to the bag at second.
Making great footwork, the shortstop approaches second base, gets the ball, uses his left foot to make contact with the ball for the first out, then throws the ball neatly to the position of the first baseman. The 7-6-3 double play drill is executed.
7. Charging the Ball Drill
There are many steps to fielding a ball. With a tight infield that is capable of working well as a single unit and together, they will be able to perform better individually when they have to turn double plays and throw out runners.
For this drill, the infielders have to be positioned at their bases. Holding a bucket of balls and a bat, the coach positions at home.
First, your infield players should be taught how to slowly creep in the infield grass. This is done by using their right foot to take a step first before the left. He opens his hands while creeping forward. He has assumed a ready position now, spread his arms while creeping.
The coach should throw a ground ball (check out our ground ball drills) to the first baseman and notice how he charges it. The player's movement towards the ball should be swift and controlled. There should be slow and calculated charging, not fast. This is so the fielders will not overrun a hit ground ball.
Infielders have to field the ball by keeping their heads down and spreading their legs shoulder-width apart. The fielder keeps his gloved hand on the ground and bare hands on top. He traps the ball when he catches it with his infield grass and gloves.
With the infielder holding the ball in his gloves, he moves his right foot, steps to the left, and positions to the target with squared shoulders. He can throw strongly as his hips have squared with his knees.
8. Leaping Catch Drill
Players learn to catch a ball when it passes across their heads. Fielders often throw poorly or high line drives. The coach maintains a distance of 10 yards when positioning two players.
- The first player throws high to the second.
- The second player jumps, catches it and tosses a high line drive to player one.
- Repeat, and increase the challenge making each player toss higher drives to each other.
If the players become skilled at saving high line drives, then a base bag should come between them and they should practice catching high line drives while their feet land on the bag. First basemen benefit from this drill.
9. Relay Throw Drill
To do this, place the outfielder in an outfield position. Set up a position for an infielder near the infield dirt. Set another one up in the center.
- The first Infielder throws to the outfielder, a fly ball from the edge of the infield
- Outfielder grabs the ball and returns it swiftly to the first Infielder
- The first Infielder catches it, then does a spin in the center of the infield dirt while approaching the second infielder
- The second infielder grabs the ball, spins and throws the home catcher
- After catching the ball the catcher swipes his gloves to simulate tagging a runner at home
- The catcher assumes a squat position. He throws to the second infielder as he tries to pretend there is a second base runner. the second infielder then tosses to the first infielder
- The ball is with the first infielder and the relay drill is repeated. Then he tosses a pop fly or a ground ball to the outfielder.
Players who are participating in this deal will be better off if they can see it as a real game. If the ball gets to the outfielder, he passes it to the first infielder fast as though there are base runners with them.
Let the throws be short so the players can repeat it many times and do relay throw practice.
10. Outfield Footwork and Throwing Drill
In an open space place three traffic cones at a distance of one yard from each other. Position the player towards the first cone.
- Wearing their gloves, the right-handed players should hop on the first cone using their throwing side. The glove-side foot comes next.
- With the target ahead, he should land with his body
- He goes over the next cone and leads with the side foot
- He makes a sideway turn with his shoulders while bringing the glove foot above the cone
- He raises his gloves to face the target and lifts his throwing hand. He positions himself in the ready to throw position
- Lastly, the player brings his gloves to the ground to create a simulation of a ground ball fielding
- He repeats the complete motion he did previously
Ensure that the player does not land on his heel but the balls of his feet. With more improvement on the moves around the cones, the pace of the drill should be increased.
11. Infield Relay Warmup Drill
Players enjoy this amazing team drill a lot. Set this drill by positioning the players at all the infield positions. Don't exclude the catcher. Start the team drill immediately after everyone is prepared.
- The coach should use a fungo bat to pass a grounder to the third baseman.
- The ball is thrown to first base after the third baseman fields it
- The third baseman proceeds to the shortstop queue.
- The ball is thrown home by the first baseman.
- The catcher throws another ball to the coach after catching the previous throw
- The coach gets the ball to a shortstop
- The shortstop throws to first base after fielding the ball.
- The shortstop then proceeds to the second base slot.
Every infield player plays with the same pattern. The coach now sends to the next baseman who changes position to first base after fielding the ball.
- The first baseman takes over the catcher position.
- The third base is now occupied by the catcher.
When every player has returned to their initial positions, the drill ends. The aim of this drill is to encourage many player movements, fast and straight to the point, and also indicate that a ball is in play. The coach may choose to hit the next ball only when he has been handed back the first.
Nothing is more fundamental than players taking their field position correctly. With this drill, the basics of proper arrangements are taken by infielders to field fast, hit ground balls fast, and hit them to the right or left.
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