Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaching
Defensive Baseball Work
Getting the most work accomplished in the shortest amount of practice time is always preferred, instead of having many players standing around inactive. The following defensive baseball practice is an easy way to keep the whole team busy at once.
Taking normal infield practice is good for pregame practice, but to keep many players active, while working on defensive baseball skills, coaches should use the following defensive baseball routine. Often, at the higher levels of baseball, this defensive baseball routine occurs in between pitches during batting practice, but not recommended for youth level baseball, as it is too dangerous, because the timing has to be just right with baseballs moving all over the place.
Defensive Baseball Practice Drill
Two coaches hit infield groundballs and one coach hits outfield balls to players. The outfield-hitting coach lines up at one of the foul lines, behind the first or third base bags in the outfield, and hits balls to players standing in center field. One player sets up as the cutoff person towards the coach, to whom outfielders field balls and fire to the cutoff player.
One infield-hitting coach sets up to the first base side of home plate and hits groundballs to either the second or third base positions. The other coach sets up on the third baseline and hits balls to the shortstop or first base positions.
Various throws are possible in this defensive baseball routine, as long as coaches consider players’ safety.
Examples of Multiple Ground Balls Defensive Practice
- When hitting balls to the third base position, coaches can have third baseman throw to first, while the middle infielders work on turning double plays, except middle infielders do not complete throws to first base.
- Coaches can have first basemen throwing to shortstop at second base, while other coach alternates hitting balls to third basemen and second baseman, as they return throws directly back to the coach.
- Another alternative has one coach flipping balls to the catchers, who throw to middle infielders covering second base, as other coach hits balls to first or third with throws going to the opposite of where balls hit.
As you can see, many other possibilities exist, as long as coaches keep it safe.
It is best when coaches alternate hitting balls in this drill, as opposed to hitting balls at the exact same time. Coaches can have a player safely off to the side of them to catch returned balls, or players can one hop balls back in to the coach. Adding an extra first base bag up the line is a possibility, but the extra base has some risk to it, especially with inexperienced ball players. When a player forgets where he is to throw the ball, an obvious injury risk is involved. That is why this multiple ground ball routine is for experienced ball players.