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A Minnesota HS coach here wanting to know why the selection of drills for the outfield is so far behind in comparison to infield drills. It seems like the only drills you find are ones about the drop step and the crow hop.
After a while, your players get bored of the same drills, especially if your first few weeks of the season are spent in an HS gym.
Has anyone come up with some fresh, new drills to help with outfield skills and keep the players engaged? If they can be used indoors, that would be a huge plus.
We try to keep our position specific routines down to 30-45 minutes. Then we come together for team defense work. I think you pick what you need to make your players successful at their positions. I'm a strong advocate for routine and repetition.
Below is our Outfield position specific routine:
Long toss, limited to twice/week
Longs Hops, Similar to long toss on a line. The goal is to drive the baseball on a line with 1 long hop to the receiver. This simulates the throws we want from outfields to the bases and home when there will be a play at the base/plate. We work on this daily by varying the distance. The import thing is to get them past trying to fly the ball to the bag. We do this daily but limit the number of throws.
Daily: Star-Drill, See Coach Paul Levasseur drill on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz6YQidyk74
Daily: Overhead/Head Snap Fly Drill. This simulates a ball that is slicing or hooking and the players where the ball is doing to land on the other side of the player. The player should make a strong head snap
Daily: Balls in the gap. Using a pitching machine, set up to lob balls between 2 OFs. Designate 1 as CF and the other as LF or RF. Work on calling, back up , etc.
Daily: Double-Cut practice: Right afterward when we put the infielders together with outfielders we work on double cuts to 3rd and home. Coach hits or uses a pitching machine to drive a ball in the gap to the fence. Outfielder retrieve the ball and hit the cut-off...trail middle infielder works as the back up. 1st baseman trails the runner for potential play at 2nd, if play will be at home he can reposition as needed...Pitchers go to the appropriate back up location.
Lastly, my OF coach walks the OF during team defense...balls hit to an infielder and my OF'ers better be moving too. There is a lot of review and talking during this phase of practice.
If the ball's put in play, batted or thrown, 9 guys have a place to be. If someone sitting there picking his (butt), he's in the wrong place. We don't call out players on this, but work with them to be in the right place, each and every time not just when the ball is hit near them. After all, OF'ers are in the taking away extra bases business.
Great stuff John!
The players I work with are a little younger (15), but I have a drill that I work with. Outfielders line up in one outfield slot, and I have two infielders. I call out the situation, and have the two infielders line up in the positions for cut off and base where the throw will go. After the fielder makes the play, he moves to the first infielder position, first infielder to second infield, and second infield to back of line. Keeps people moving, keeps their mind engaged, and the outfielders knowing where the infielders are supposed to line up helps their baseball IQ.
A variation is to have them at all three outfield positions, so I can hit the ball anywhere. After the play, the outfielder switches with the infielder, who goes to back of that line (RF to 2B, CF to SS, and LF to 3B).
Since there are fewer possible plays for an outfielder to make, compared to infield, coming up with new and varied drills is not as easy.
No doubt, outfielders are tough to keep engaged even in outdoor practices, let a lone indoor ones. I wrote a book on outfield play that has a number of really good drills for indoors and outdoors to help. It's free, check it out here ~~> http://www.cornerstonecoachingacademy.com/developing-dynamic-outfie...
Hope it helps!
The link to your free book is a dead link...all I get is a join my newsletter link.
Coach Nelson, the link is dead. Can you send a fresh link or give me an idea where I can get the book.