Curious about baseball outfielders and 5 essential drills to play like a pro? Even professional baseball players get tired of constant practicing and performing drills over and over, but they know that these 5 essential drills for outfield play are necessary. Youth baseball coaches can make these 5 essential drills less tedious by adding a little fun, or even a little friendly competition between team members.
- To encourage your baseball team to train, make this first essential outfield drill a timed event. Have the players stand at attention, hands at their sides, feet together, facing away from home plate. Then, on a signal, see how fast they can achieve the correct position (knees bent, hands close to hips, facing home plate).
- Another essential baseball drill is getting players to start moving as soon as a fly ball is hit. Baseball players need to move quickly, even if it means taking just one step to the left or right, depending on the direction of the ball. One way of doing this is to use the movement as a warm-up exercise. Spread the players out, then give such commands as “Ball is going left,” or “Ball is going right,” as rapidly as possible. Do not actually hit a baseball at this time; the idea behind this essential drill is to get the team ready to respond and warmed up for the rest of practice.
- Have players practice catching high flies in such a way that they are ready to immediately throw the baseball back. During this essential outfield drill, remind the players that the best position for this is with their bodies behind the ball, which is caught over the throwing shoulder so that the player is already in a good position to return the ball.
- Teach your players to scoop up grounders. In other words, let the glove capture the baseball so that the players don’t fumble it. Very young baseball players may enjoy using their gloves to scoop up sand, soft dirt or another materials that will not harm gloves as a way to learn this essential outfield skill. You can have them race to where the material is, scoop it from the ground, and run back to a pre-determined spot where they will drop their “ball,” then run back for another scoop. Remind them not to throw the substance they scoop up, but rather to empty their gloves. Once they have done this drill for a while, then you can practice with regular baseballs.
- This last outfield drill may seem rather strange, but it is a good one to teach. If a coach notices that players are relying too heavily on their gloves to stop balls, and as a result are blowing some throws, this essential outfield drill can come in handy. Have someone roll baseballs toward the players, and have them use their other hand to retrieve it. Alternate between having them run toward the ball being rolled and waiting for the ball to come to a complete stop before they field it. Explain to them that learning this drill will mean that they will already be looking at the ball, and will only need to straighten up, quickly achieve a good throwing stance and hurl the ball to where it needs to be to make the out or keep a runner at base.