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Baseball Defensive Drills

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                DIRT LINES "Ground Ball Drill"                   
 Great Drill For Teaching Ground Ball Fundamentals.

This drill is used to teach young players to get their hands and glove out front when fielding a grounder. The young player often gets in the habit of catching grounders close to his or her feet or slightly in front of the toes. As coaches, we want infielders to extend their arms and get the glove out in front so that they can see the ball into it. The player should "lay" the glove on the ground out in front of his body . Each players distance will vary. However, a good rule of thumb is to try and extend the length from the players arm or from the tip of the fingers to the armpit. Another good measuring scale is they should be able to extend the length of the the bat they use. This distance is measured on the ground from the back of his heel outward. For this drill we pair two players. The players will roll grounders to each other from about 6 to 8 feet. The coach draws two lines in the dirt about 8 feet apart. The players must catch the ball out in front of this line. The coach will then draw a second line for each player. this is the "feet" line. The players feet must stay behind this line. The players roll the ball and catch it while making sure to: 1) Get extension, 2) Keep the elbows off the ribs, 3) Funnel the ball in using the top "bare" hand. 4) Work their feet as they bring the ball up to the correct "T" throwing position. 5) Roll the ball back to your partner 6) Repeat the process. 50 to 100 "GB's" each practice should be done.

The distance can be changed to accommodate the speed of the groundball work.

"Make Believe" Infield
Great warm-up for certain situations

The teams takes perfect infield by allowing every player to make a perfect catch and throw. The way this drill is conducted is the coach does not use a ball. He hits a "make-believe" ball. Each time the player goes through the correct motion of fielding the ball and making a perfect play. Each time the player receiving the throw will pat his glove to simulate a catch. Emphasis is placed on talking, following through, and making everything look perfect. No one will mess up or make a bad mistake. I have used this drill many, many times in practice and before games. It is especially good with young kids to emphasis correct body mechanics. It is also useful if you get to a field for a game and the playing surface is too wet or rough to take a "good" round of infield. Sometimes it is better not to use a real ball in warm-up if there is a risk of the ball taking a terrible bounce. Bad infield and warm-up may bring down "team esteem". I've never had a team take "make believe" infield that was anything less than great! It's always perfect!


Double Buckets GB Drill
Ground Ball Drill for Infielders

This drill is actually a method of taking a lot of ground balls with out having your players make any throw. The drill requires 36 baseballs, two buckets and a fungo bat. The coach will be hitting ground balls to at least 3 players. 5 or 6 players can be worked at a time using this drill. The coach will place the two buckets about 45 feet apart. All of the balls are in one of the buckets. This is the bucket that the coach will get his balls from. The players are lined up single file with one behind another, on the end with the empty bucket. The coach hits grounders. The players field each ground ball and get in proper throwing position. They then sprint to the empty bucket, drop the ball in and get in the back of the line. There is no throwing of balls during this drill. When all balls have been hit, fielded and dropped in the bucket, the coach and players swap ends and the drill starts over.

Cut-off Relays
Great for building skills, speed, accuracy and confidence.

This drill is a great skill builder. There will be at least 5 players on a team. They line up about 30 feet apart and stretch about 120 feet across the field. You will have two teams or "lines" competing against each other. Make sure to have you catcher, first baseman, and third baseman on one end. Have an outfielder on the opposite end. Your middle infielder should be in the middle. The drill will start for both lines at the same time. The first team to take the ball to the other end and get it back is the winner. The ball must be caught and thrown by each player in the line. Teams may not skip a man. The catchers should practice catching and tagging a runner. The middle infielders should be taught to properly "round" the ball, make a proper relay catch and quick throw. We often do this drill and the losing team must do 5 or 10 pushups or squat thrust.

Catcher-------------x--------------------x------------------x--------------------Outfielder

The distances should be matched to the age. You may also have the outfielder let the ball go and hit the fence, before he goes retrieves it and makes his throw to the cutoff man. You may also want to make this a "total team" drill with the whole team having to catch and throw the ball to cover a long distance. If you have the room to do this, it is great to have the team work together to beat the clock. They must beat a set time or they "pay". You may also want to have the "line" make more than one trip down and back. It is great to make each "line" take the ball to the other end three times.

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