Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

How to instantly improve your infield range

January 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Coaching, Infield, Practice

When infielders start out in baseball, they mostly get instructed to charge the ball.  You’ll hear tee-ball, coach-pitch, and Little League coaches frequently say “move in on the pitch,” “move to the ball!” or “go get the ball!”  This is all good advice since young infielders who are just starting out have a tendency to wait for the ball to come to them.  Unfortunately, old habits don’t die quickly.

When infielders get older, their range needs to improve.  This is where the habit of always moving forward to the ball comes back to bite them.  Below is a graphic of the player’s range when this happens.

(Key: the yellow lines represent batted balls to the left and right; the X is the infielder; the green lines are the path the infielder takes to the ball; the white line equals the infielder’s range)

To widen their range, players need to develop the ability to go backwards on harder hit balls.  Here is the same graphic that shows a first step that goes backwards.

You can see how much the player’s range increases in the second graphic.  The player did not get quicker, stronger, or faster.  All he did was learn to take a different path to the ball when the ball is hit harder.  Of course, if the player were to take this path on slowly hit balls, they would never get the runner out a first base.  That’s why it is important to practice not only the proper path but also the ability to quickly recognize when to move forward and when to move backwards.  Here is a picture of how a coach could organize a good three-part drill for accomplishing both.

 

The cones show the player the correct angles to take to the ball.   First, start by rolling/hitting a ball slowly so the player moves forward to get to the ball more quickly.  Second, roll/hit them harder to get the player used to their first step being backwards (as shown in the photo).  Third, mix up slowly rolled/hit balls with harder ones to get the player used to correctly reading the speed of the ball himself.  Put cones on the other side of the player and repeat.

My players are probably so sick of hearing me say that “baseball is played from the ground up.”  However, I won’t stop saying that because when a player puts his feet in the right place at the right time, they immediately improve.

Comments

One Response to “How to instantly improve your infield range”
  1. Drew Stegon says:

    Great drill!! Love this one as we do it for infielders and outfielders alike.

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