Home
Sponsored By:   Hometown Gas
Wilton, CT
 
 
My my My my
 
 
 
 
 
 

WILTON LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL

Positional Clinics – Outfield 

 

  • Discuss upper- and lower-body stretches
    • Importance of long-toss throwing exercise
  • Fundamentals of playing the ball
    • Preparing for the play
      • Body should be moving towards the infield as the pitcher delivers the ball
      • Keep your weight on the balls of your feet so that you can react quickly once the ball is put in play
      • Do not put your hands on your knees – set yourself in an athletic position, slightly taller than you would stand in the infield, and with feet slightly staggered
      • Remain loose – tension in the body will slow down the player’s reaction time
    • Reading and reacting to fly balls
      • If the ball is hit in the direction of the outfielder, then his first step should be a drop-step to the side on which the ball is hit
        • As the outfielder improves his read of the ball off the bat, he can avoid the drop-step and wait for a split second after the ball is put in play to determine whether to charge or drop step on the ball
        • On balls that will travel over the outfielder’s head, the outfielder should try turning to his glove side (makes for an easier on-the-run catch)
      • If the ball is hit to the left or right of the outfielder, then his first step should be a hard “crossover” step in that direction
      • Outfielder must quickly “read” three aspects of the ball:  (1) height of the ball at its apex; (2) speed at which the ball is traveling to the outfield; and (3) the angle that the ball is taking (to the left, to the right, or directly at the outfielder)
        • REMEMBER:  Balls hit to the right side of the field will usually continue to tail to the right, and balls hit to the left side of the field will usually continue to tail to the left

 

DRILL #1 – Speed drill for drop-steps and crossover steps (no ball), running to cones that the coach calls out

 

  • Approaching and catching fly balls and line drives
    • Run on your toes, with your glove at your side (rather than outstretched) and your eye on the ball
    • Take an angle to the ball that will keep your body behind the ball, if possible
    • When catching the ball:
      • Try to catch the ball with your glove slightly in front of your forehead, and slightly on the throwing-hand side of your body, with the glove fingers pointing up
      • USE YOUR THROWING HAND TO SQUEEZE THE BALL IN YOUR GLOVE AND WATCH THE BALL INTO THE GLOVE
        • Do not glance at the baserunners in the infield as the ball is approaching your glove
      • If the outfielder needs to run in on a short fly ball, then the easiest way to make the catch will likely be with the glove fingers pointing down

 

DRILL #2 – Five-point drill, with each outfielder taking five fly balls in quick succession – (1) line drive to the right side, (2) line drive to the left side, (3) fly ball back and to the right, (4) fly ball back and to the left, and (5) short fly ball

 

  • If runners are on base, the outfielder should try to get in a position to get his momentum behind the ball
    • As the ball is descending, try to position yourself 5 to 10 feet behind where the ball will land
    • Start your momentum moving towards the base to which you will be throwing
    • After catching the ball, use a crow-hop to get additional power behind your throw
      • Throws should be on a line and should not loop in the air
      • If the game situation calls for using a cut-off man, then the outfielder should be throwing to the cut-off’s knee area, and he should be trying to throw through the cut-off rather than to the cut-off, and always use an over-the-shoulder throw with a four-seam grip on the ball
  • Rule of thumb on diving for fly balls:  the higher the arc of the ball, the safer it is to dive for the ball, because the ball likely will not roll far if you miss it

 

DRILL #3 – Fielding fly balls and using crow-hops to throw to home plate (using players as cut-offs)

 

  • Fielding ground balls
    • General rules – (1) Keep the ball in front of you and (2) keep your momentum moving towards the infield – approach the ball at an angle that will your body behind the ball
    • On hard ground balls or line drives that fall, if there are no runners on base and the batter is not in a position to advance to second base, then the outfielder should consider using  a “safety” stop
      • Drop down to the throwing-hand knee with shoulders squared to the ball
      • Use two hands to trap the ball in your glove
    • If the situation demands that the outfielder prevent a baserunner from advancing, then consider using a squat (with heels together) to keep the ball in front of you
    • “Do or die” play
      • If the outfielder needs to make a quick throw to prevent a baserunner from scoring late in the game, then he should use the “do or die” approach
      • Momentum should be moving towards the target, with a slight “chop step” as you reach the ball
      • Field the ball on the glove side, reaching down with one hand and taking the ball near the glove-side foot (keeping momentum moving forward)
      • Use a quick, two-step crow-hop to throw the ball towards your target
    • Reverse pivot on balls hit to a right-hander’s left side and to a left-hander’s right side – another way to get power on the throw

 

DRILL #4 – Four-point drill, with each outfielder taking four ground balls in quick succession – (1) soft ground ball, (2) hard ground ball requiring a “safety stop”, (3) ground ball requiring a reverse pivot, and (4) a “do or die” ground ball with a throw to home plate

 

  • Outfielder responsibilities and strategies
    • Most importantly, the outfielder needs to consider his responsibilities before the pitcher begins his wind-up
    • Fly ball priorities
      • GENERAL RULE #1 – outfielders take priorities over infielders
      • GENERAL RULE #2 – center fielder takes priority over corner outfielders
      • However, consider the advantage of having the outfielder with momentum towards the target make the catch (for example, if a baserunner is on second base and may tag up on a fly ball, then the right fielder may be in a better position to prevent the baserunner from reaching third base)
      • COMMUNICATION – somebody needs to call for the ball, and the person calling for the ball should make the play (unless another player with priority calls him off)

 

DRILL #5 – Two lines, ball thrown in between the outfielders, and the “priority” infielder makes the call if closer to him

 

  • Responsibility to back up plays – each outfielder should move every time the ball is put in play
    • Position yourself far enough behind the base or fielder that you are backing up to prevent an errant throw from getting passed you, but close enough to allow you to hold the baserunners on an errant throw
    • Goal is to put yourself in line with the player throwing the ball and the target
    • Left fielder
      • Throws from the catcher to third base (always be prepared for snap pick-off throws)
      • Throws from the first baseman, the second baseman or the shortstop to third base
      • Throws from the right fielder to second base
      • Balls hit to the left side of the center fielder
    • Center fielder
      • Throws from the catcher to second base
      • Balls hit to the left side of the left fielder or to the right side of the right fielder
    • Right fielder
      • Throws from the catcher to first base (always be prepared for snap pick-off throws)
      • Throws from the second baseman, the third baseman or the shortstop to first base
      • Throws from the left fielder to second base
      • Balls hit to the right side of the center fielder
  • Where to throw the ball on a hit to the outfield (rules of thumb)
    • No baserunners – throw to second base
    • Runner on first base only – throw to third base
    • Lead runner on second base – throw to home plate
    • HOWEVER, the correct base to which the ball should be thrown may be different depending on a variety of factors
      • Speed of the baserunners
      • How far the outfielder must run to retrieve the ball
      • Number of outs
      • Score of the game