Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Footwork & timing for advanced infielders

Today’s video tip is an advanced one for infielders.  It involves better timing of the footwork on ground balls. I start by showing how the human body functions when walking forward and backward and then apply that to fielding.  Fielding with this proper timing tends to improve gracefulness and smoothness through the baseball. Practicing indoors […]

Confidently unorthodox

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base

“When you catch the ball, use two hands.”   “On grounders, square up and get in front of the ball.” “Don’t show-off and flip the ball with your glove.  Take it out with your hand and throw it properly.” The comments above are certainly in the “old school” camp of baseball coaching.  You can’t go wrong […]

Stealing on first-move (Part 3)

This is the final post in a three part series on stealing first-move on a left-handed pitcher.  In Part 1, I explained what stealing first-move is and why it can be an effective strategy.  In Part 2, I discussed a variety of things the offensive team needs to be aware of and do in order to be […]

Stealing on first-move (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series I discussed what stealing first-move means and why it can be a very good option when a left-hander is on the mound.  In Part 2 I wanted to cover some of the little things the offense needs to do in order to increase the chances of the play turning […]

How to practice Web Gems

I could watch ESPN’s Web Gems all day long.  Having been an infielder for most of my playing career, I have an enormous respect for what MLB infielders are able to do on seemingly impossible plays.  However, Web Gems are not just for major leaguers.  They can happen at any level and age group.  That […]

A common mistake on double plays

November 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop

Here is a picture I found which shows a second baseman about to turn a double play.  Notice his mistake? If you are not sure, look at this Chase Utley photo doing the same thing.  See the difference? The young player up top will waste precious time after catching the ball.  That is because he […]

Wild Card game: Something you may have missed

In the top of the 4th inning of the Wild Card game between the Giants and the Mets, Giants outfielder Denard Span attempted to steal second base.  Replays seemed to clearly indicate that Span was safe on the play.  However, he was called out and after reviewing the replay, MLB officials in New York upheld […]

How to teach soft hands on defense

Having infielders who have nice, soft hands on ground balls can feel like a gift from heaven.  The question is, can you teach a player to have soft hands?  I’m sure there is a huge genetic component to all this but I believe there are things you can teach an infielder to help develop softer […]

Nervous feet

One of my new sayings this season is “nervous feet.”  Every now and then I will yell out between pitches, “nervous feet out there!”  By that I mean keep your feet moving and don’t let your body become still and lazy on defense.  Infielders who move their feet a lot (thus the term nervous feet) […]

What’s the best thing I can do for my player?

… get him something to throw into!  A rebounder, a wall, or anything else you can buy/build. The screen in the video is from Burbank Sport Nets and is the best throwing screen you can buy.  Period.  Here is the link:  

How NOT to be Chase Utley’d at second base

March 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

Today’s video post is a two-part (33 minute) seminar related to the infamous Chase Utley slide at second base during last year’s NLCS between the Dodgers and the Mets.  Part 1 deals with the ways a slide can become dirty.  Part 2 demonstrates a variety of ways middle infielders can protect themselves so they do not become […]

Relay vs Redirect

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  With a name like McCreary, I had to do a post! One of the many things you need to teach young players as they get older is that there are very few (if any) absolutes in baseball.  There are so many examples of this but today I’ll deal with one of […]

Pinching the middle for middle infielders – Part 2

January 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

Today’s video tip is Part 2 of the very important responsibility for middle infielders when there are runners on base.  To see Part 1, click HERE. Today’s tip focuses on a common mistake made AFTER this responsibility is over and how to correct it.

Pinching the middle for middle infielders – Part 1

January 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

Today’s video tip is about the VERY IMPORTANT and MANDATORY responsibility of both middle infielders whenever there are runners on base. It’s one of the many things a well-coached team will do without being told.

How to decoy runners on overthrows

Today’s video tip is for more advanced infielders.  It’s advanced because, as you will see, the player will have to fight their instincts and that is not something you learn to do overnight.

Do shortstops open up on double play feeds?

Today’s video tip is the answer to a question I received from a reader.  He asked if shortstops should open up their left leg on double play feeds to better clear their hips.  Here is what I have to say about that …

In the neighborhood

May 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop

It is extremely rare that a Major League umpire will call a runner safe at second base on a double play when the middle infielder is “in the neighborhood.”  What “in the neighborhood” means is that the fielder who turns the double play may not actually touch the bag at second but he is close […]

3-6-3 play: Inside or Outside?

Every coach has his pet-peeves.  I have mine.  On my list is when first basemen and/or shortstops yell “Inside!” or “Outside!” on throws to second base on a 3-6-3 double play. Today’s video tip explains what that means and why yelling anything is totally unnecessary.

How to tag a runner who is a dead out

February 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base

I’ve done a written post and a video on how to properly tag runners coming into bases.  I even did an important, more lengthy video on preparing for collisions at home plate as a catcher.  But what happens when the ball beats the runner to a bag by a lot?  Then what do you do? […]

How to decoy base runners

January 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

When I was around 10 years old, my father showed me how major league infielders decoy base runners.  I was fascinated.  Knowing me, I’m sure I went right outside and starting practicing it.  Unfortunately, decoying runners is too often something that is not passed on to middle infielders until much later in their careers.  Some […]

Do NOT do this on a double play

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

Stick around long enough and you’ll hear some pretty bad things coming from people in the game.  One of them is brought out in today’s video tip.  It involves something middle infielders are told to do that not only makes it tougher to do their job, it’s unsafe as well.  Watch the video to see […]

Video – Tips for an underhand toss

September 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

About three years ago I did a written post listing the fundamentals of an underhand toss.  For those visual learners, here is a video that covers what I think are the most important aspects of this basic play. Next post: A player’s Check Engine light

Square up to the thrower on double plays

Today’s video tip is for younger middle infielders who are just starting to learn how to turn a double play.  Older, more experienced middle infielders will need to make the play faster.  As a result, their fundamentals necessary to make the play are a little different and more advanced. The video makes it as basic […]

The double peek

There aren’t many non-negotiables in baseball.  Always hustling is one of them.  Respecting the game is another.  There is also one for middle infielders.  Here is the non-negotiable rule whenever there is a runner on first base… One every single pitch no matter how many outs there are, what the score is, or what inning […]

Underhand and backhand flips to second base

June 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

You would think a ten foot underhand or backhand toss would be a gimmie but of course, anytime a throw is made you never know what will happen. The success of a double play largely depends on how fast and how accurate the feed to the guy at second base is made.  There are certainly […]

Don’t rely on teammates

The title of this post may seem a little strange on the surface since the essense of teamwork is working together and relying on your teammates.  However, relying too much on teammates can cause some problems and prevent players from efficiently making plays.  Here are three examples: 1. On a relay throw to the third baseman […]

Don’t turn your back

May 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

This quick tip is for middle infielders. When there are runners on base, especially third base, it is common for one or both middle infielders to back up the throw coming back to the pitcher from the catcher after the pitch.  However, very often the middle infielder(s) will make a basic mistake when returning to their […]

Middle infield mistake when breaking to second base

April 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

I had the pleasure of checking out a high school game last week.  It’s great to get outside and enjoy some warm weather for a change and it also gives me a long list of ideas for future posts!  Here’s one. When covering second base on a steal, both middle infielders should not be breaking […]

Pinch on passed balls at home plate

April 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

Today’s post is a tip for middle infielders and for coaches who are looking for another one of those little things to pass on to their players.  It involves a passed ball or wild pitch that goes to the backstop when there is a runner on third base and at least one other at 1st […]

I’ll be there

“I’ll be there” is one of those phrases I loved to hear my pitchers and infielders say throughout the game.  Here are the situations when I wanted to hear it from them.   Left handed hitter walks to the plate.  Pitcher turns to the first baseman and says “Ball hit to you, I’ll be there.“ […]

Carry the ball with you

When I work with older infielders (middle schoolers on up), the very first thing I often address is the need to get to the right of the ball on the approach.  I’ve done a few written posts and some videos that deal with that very concept but today I wanted to provide another reason why […]

Footwork on cutoffs for middle infielders

November 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

In yesterday’s post, I showed in a video how to make the footwork of 1st and 3rd basemen more efficient on cutoff plays to home plate.  Today, it’s the two middle infielders that are going to get my focus. Like 1st and 3rd basemen, shortstops and second basemen need to develop efficient footwork.  However,  also […]

Fielding the ground ball hit right at you

Ask any infielder and they will tell you that sometimes the hardest ball to field is the ball hit directly at you.  As I explain in this video, this phenomenon has a lot to do with the fielders vision.  I also provide two ways infielders can eleviate this problem if they don’t have enough time […]

Improve your defense near a batting cage

October 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

The other night I was wondering around a park where my son’s soccer practice was and noticed a young player taking some swings in a batting cage with what appeared to be his father.  His father was throwing a pretty good BP and his son was hacking.  I noticed immediately that my brain was correctly […]

Don’t run into a tag – Part 2

July 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base

In YESTERDAY’S POST I talked about a double play situation where the runner should do all that he can to induce more throws by the defense.  Today’s post expands on that issue by explaining what the second baseman should do in this situation to maximize his ability to get two outs.
  Let’s say, as mentioned […]

Don’t run into a tag

I had another “shake my head at the TV” moment the other night while watching a major league game.  With one out and a runner on first base, a soft ground ball was hit towards the second baseman.  He charged to field the ball, easily tagged the runner going to second base, and threw to […]

Common mistakes on Double Relays

During a recent MLB game I was watching, a ball hit to deep right-center required a double-relay for a play at home plate.  The throw to home was never made because the cutoff was botched.  The announcers blamed it on a poor throw by the outfielder but in reality, the trailer on the double-relay team […]

When second basemen cover first

May 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Second Base

I’ve probably wrote on this website a hundred times about how important proper footwork is when it comes to defense.  Most errors, non-plays, and other mistakes are causes by the feet not being in the correct place at the correct time.  There are countless examples of this but I noticed another the other day while […]

Footwork when covering second base

March 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Second Base, Shortstop, Video Posts

A reader contacted me and asked about a video I made a while back about middle infield footwork around the bag on steal attempts to second base.  I looked everywhere on my site and could not find it.  Apparently, I put it on my YouTube Channel but not the website.  Here it is.  Sorry if […]

Just get it in the area

Recently I’ve done several videos on double play footwork and drills for both shortstops and second basemen.  Of course, the best footwork out there will not matter so much if the feed to the bag is a horrible one.  Neither second basemen nor shortstops enjoy bad feeds because not only does it make it tougher […]

Mix your DP turns at second base

January 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Second Base, Video Posts

As players get older, base runners are going to be more aggressive when they try to break up double plays.  In professional baseball, there will be no mercy shown towards that second baseman or shortstop.  If you are a middle infielder at the higher levels, you can be sure runners are going to come after […]

Tip for backhand footwork

In a previous post, I described the basic footwork of the backhand play.  There I explained when a player would lead with their left foot forward and when they would lead with their right foot forward when backhanding a ground ball.  Today’s video post will show another key detail involved with the feet when a […]

Common mistakes by second basemen

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Second Base

This week, I have been reposting a series I did way back at the start of Baseball By The Yard that covers common mistakes players make by position.  New posts will begin again on Wednesday, January 2. Next up … common mistakes by second basemen! Late getting to the bag.  A second baseman has to […]

Reading hops as an infielder

One of the most astonishing stats that I’ve ever seen is one that even most die-hard baseball fans never heard about.  In 1990, Cal Ripken Jr. made a grand total of three errors.  THREE !!!!  He played in every game that year (1,406 innings) and had 680 defensive chances.  I don’t know about you but […]

2B Double Plays Part 4

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Video Posts

Today is the last of the four part series on double plays for second basemen.  Often you will see MLB second basemen line up behind the bag on double plays.  This last part explains how they do it and more importantly, why many do it that way. I hope they were useful!   &nbsp

2B Double Plays Part 3

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Video Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!! Today it’s backing off the bag and common mistakes second basemen make in the process.

2B Double Plays Part 2

November 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Video Posts

2B Double Plays Part 1

November 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Video Posts

Here is Part 1 of 4 videos on double plays for second baseman.  This part focusses on the footwork of coming across the bag to turn the double play.   NOTE: Coming across the bag is a good option for second basemen when the feeds are coming from a farther distance – deep shortstop and […]

Footwork on backhands

If you look closely at photos of infielders who are backhanding a ground 
ball, you’ll probably notice some differences in footwork.  Which 
footwork the fielder chooses has to do with the type of groundball that
 was hit.  Was it hit hard but fairly close to you or was it hit with 
average speed but farther […]

Master of the slow roller

October 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop

During the Yankees/Tigers playoff game the other night, two versions of a
 shortstop throwing on the run was seen.  Derek Jeter successfully
 executed the play on a slow, choppy grounder but the Tigers shortstop (Jhonny Peralta) was not able to on a similar grounder the following inning.  Jeter was
 able to complete the play because […]

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