Wednesday Web Gems
Baseball Relays – Technique to Win Games
When I played major league baseball, along with hitting a triple, no play excited me more than making a baseball relay throw to attempt to nail the runner. This was especially so for the relay throw home when the game was on the line.
Correct technique on the baseball relay is crucial for getting the most on the throw, wasting no time, and having an accurate throw. This play may look simple when performed by professional, but it takes a good amount of concentration by the relay player.
- At the higher levels of ball, the first throw from the outfielder should be the longest throw. However, at the youth baseball level, when stronger armed players are often playing the infield, the opposite is important. Coaching infielders to go out the correct distance to receive the initial throw is the first thing to teach.
- Secondly, the infielder (relay person) must be directly in line with the base the throw is going to, which is usually the base where the lead runner is approaching. Infielder decides that by a quick glance back to the infield before the outfielder is to throw the ball or by listening to the infielders behind them.
- Relay person must concentrate on the flight of the ball, specifically as to its direction and speed, with the intent of catching the ball on their glove side of their body. Quick movement of the feet is often necessary to achieve that.
- With strong throws, the relay person should have their momentum moving towards the infield, catch the ball at their right shoulder with two hands, and deliver a strong throw to the base, on a line.
- On weak throws from the outfielder, players must move to the ball first, away from the infield, before catching the ball in the same location as above. On this play, players will not be able to get as strong a throw off, as they have little momentum towards the infield.
Other Key Baseball Relays Tips
- The only time players would turn opposite their glove side is on balls they have to reach across their body for, where it is quicker to let the momentum of this throw have them spin clockwise instead.
- At the higher levels of ball, a double cutoff play is necessary, with a backup infielder behind the first relay player. With this baseball relay technique, the initial player may let the ball go to the backup player, when the outfielder’s throw is too tough to handle.
- The player receiving the initial throw must stay attentive to instructions from the other infielders, as the throw direction may change depending on the location of the base runners.
As mentioned, the baseball relays play looks easy on TV, but requires a great amount of practice, so players have the correct technique for this crucial baseball play.