Getting a ton of infield reps – Part 1
When I ran outdoor high school practices, virtually every one started with defensive reps. I felt our ability to hit largely depended who was pitching against us but if we worked hard at the footwork and fundamentals to fielding then that side of the ball would/should remain consistently good.
The way I started involved rapid fire style reps to all the infielders. Total time equaled about 20 minutes if the expanded version of the drill was used (that’s tomorrow’s post!). The two options for organizing the hitters are below. Other nuts and bolts of the drill are under the photo.
- Pitchers, outfielders, and/or coaches do the fungo hitting and/or ball rolling. Coaches tend to be better at hitting fungos but having the outfielders do it creates a beneficial hitting drill – bat control, bat path, contact point, coordination, etc.
- All fungo hitters stood in the appropriate spots (see the X’s) depending on who they were hitting towards.
- If the ground was too soft for batted balls, batters would move closer to the fielders and either bat or roll balls (underhand) to the fielders as needed. This is seen in Option B. This one is good if you need to be more accurate with your grounders – backhands, forehands, short hops, etc. It’s also good if none of your players/coaches are very good at hitting consistent ground balls. With younger players, this would be the option I would use most of the time.
- All fungo hitters /rollers would wear sneakers or turf shoes to protect the dirt/grass areas. No spikes allowed for the hitters. It’s not a bad idea for infielders to wear turf shoes as well. This drill chews up the infield dirt pretty good since the infielders are moving a lot. Sneakers/turf shoes help with better footwork and balance also. I wrote about that HERE.
- Outfielders not involved in the hitting of fungos can be doing outfield specific drills with another coach or hitting in a cage.
- Catchers can be off working on things like blocking, releases, pop-ups, bunt pick-ups, etc. on their own or with another coach.
- Unless the expanded version was used, all throws by the infielders returned straight back to the batter or his catch-up man. To save arms, use 8 buckets. One for each of the hitters with balls and another out behind each fielder. The fielder fields it properly and then drops it in his bucket. Switch buckets when full.
- Option A requires better fungo hitters since they are hitting longer ground balls. If the ground is very soft, this option creates a lot of divots in the infield grass especially if the fungo hitters hit the ball straight down. If that was the case, I’d do Option B.
Tomorrow, I’ll show how I turned this basic system into a full-blown drill with several phases to better prepare infielders.
Tomorrow’s post: Getting a ton of infield reps – Part 2