By John R Di Nicola
Once you have had a couple of practices and have had infield and outfield practice you can venture to the next step working on game situations. You set your 9 players in their positions. Have your spare players as base runners. Have them stand behind home plate and you hit ball. This is so important it enables you to practice your pitchers and position players real situations. You will have to have patience. At first they will throw the ball around and be out of positions. Below are two drills that are very important in teach the fundamentals of defense.
Backing up 3rd base and home plate.
With nobody on base and ball is hit into gap pitcher should line up in between third base and home plate.
With base runners on first base and ball hit into gap they should do the same and watch and see where the play may be and make their decision which base they should back up.
With men in scoring positions and ball hit into the gap they should back up home. You have to make sure the pitchers have good distance from the foul line so they are not to close and have a good angle to go between third and home. The Pitcher must have depth behind the base so they get overthrown ball.
The mistake they all make is getting to close to base. Explain, they are backing up to get the overthrow. If they are to close they can't make adjustments. This defeats the purpose of them backing up the base.
Covering Home Plate on Pass Ball
This drill is very important because you will have passed balls at this level. Providing the backstop is not to far back it is an excellent way to get what I call a cheap out.
You can have signals for the pitchers to call out to the catchers. Most of the time the catchers will not be able to pick up which directions the ball has traveled.
You can use one, two and three. One being right, once he has turned to retrieve the ball. Two would be middle of backstop. Three would to the left.
Organizing your practice set up your schedule and rotate your days you do the drills. You will find that some of the drills they will pick up quicker than others. The biggest thing is you cannot have marathon practices. By keeping the practices short and crisp you will keep players motivated. I found if you have a practice schedule and post it will show the players approximately how long each drill will be and what to expect.
Practice makes perfect.
By: John R. Di Nicola
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