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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Wherever it takes you

July 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Coaching, Third Base, Video Posts

Today’s video tip is for 3rd basemen and involves a popular phrase you will here coaches say when there are bases loaded or runners on 1st and 2nd.

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:  

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 […]

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.

How batters tip off that they are bunting

Today’s video tip shows two ways that batters will often unintentionally let you know that they are about to either sacrifice or base-hit bunt.  The tips are for primarily 1st and 3rd basemen since they are the ones who will be charging but it is also for anyone else (coaches, catchers, pitchers, etc.) on the […]

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? […]

Third basemen: How to field bunts more easily

December 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Infield, Third Base, Video Posts

Today’s video tip is for third basemen who want to make it easier for themselves when it comes to fielding bunts.  It’s a little thing you do not see taught very often but if it is done, it can make a world of difference in getting the out the offensive team is giving you.

Angle for third basemen on bunts

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Third Base, Video Posts

Probably the toughest thing about being a third baseman is dealing with bunt plays.  When there is a runner on first and the batter bunts, it’s pretty simple.  You and the pitcher go for the ball if it is bunted to the third base side and whoever doesn’t field it runs to cover third base. […]

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 […]

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 for 1st and 3rd cutoffs

November 12, 2013 by  
Filed under First Base, Third Base, Video Posts

A cutoff play is one of those little things that is a thing of beauty when it is done well.  When it’s not, it’s pretty much a train wreck.  Very painful to watch.  Unfortunately, it is not often practiced and even when it is, the footwork involved is often under addressed.  Like most everything else […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 third base mistakes

December 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Third 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 third basemen! Playing too shallow. I suppose there may be coaches or […]

Watching runners tag up

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Catching, First Base, Infield, Third Base

One of the challenges umpires have is watching runners tag up.  They have to watch both the ball being caught and the runner take off at the same time which can be virtually impossible depending on their positioning.  To cope with this, umpires are taught, whenever possible, to get both the runner and the outfielder […]

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 […]

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 […]

To hug the line or not?

July 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, First Base, Third Base

Most Old School coaches will have their third baseman and first baseman hug the line late in the game if they are winning by a run or, as might be the case in the photo,  the runner on first is the tying or winning run. “Hugging the line” means moving the position player (1st or […]

Fielding with two triangles

No matter what age you are dealing with, fielding a baseball starts with learning how to form these two triangles.  Virtually every fielding drill should include this basic foundation.

Third baseman’s bunt positioning

October 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Third Base

The idea for this post came during the first game of the World Series the other night between the Cardinals and the Rangers.  Chris Carpenter was batting and was attempting to bunt a runner to second base.  The situation was captured in a quick shot from a camera that must have been located at the […]

The Suicide Squeeze – Part 5: Defending the squeeze play

As I have stated numerous times in this series on the suicide squeeze, if the offensive team hides it well, uses the proper timing, and executes the fundamentals of the bunt, there is virtually nothing a defense can do to stop the suicide squeeze.  Therefore, defending the squeeze play basically involves taking advantage of any […]

Snap throws to third base

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Base Running, Catching, Third Base

One of the more demoralizing things that can happen to an offensive team is to have a base runner picked off third base.  I’ve written a post or two on base running and taking leads but this post is for the defensive team and mostly for the third baseman and catcher. Watching how this guys […]

First base & Third base cutoffs

April 21, 2011 by  
Filed under First Base, Third Base

One of the important jobs for both third basemen and first basemen is to be the cutoff guy on throws to home plate from the outfield.  Below are some things both should consider and/or do to make the play more successful.Line yourself up.  I mentioned this part in the First Base Mistakes post a while […]

Tips for diving after ground balls

Being a defensive minded baseball person by nature, I love watching highlights of great defensive plays by infielders.  For me, a player diving for a ball and getting up to throw a strike to first base is better than watching a batter hit a game winning home run.  Although some of these Major League infielders […]

How to tag base runners

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base

On the surface, it seems pretty basic.  Catch the ball and make the tag.  However, like everything else in baseball, there’s a lot of little things going on under the surface if you dig a little deeper.  Here are 10 tips to make sure your tagging of runners is more successful.  Juan Uribe positions himself […]