Top Outfield Drills To Do At Home
A strong outfield can be a pitcher’s best friends. The ability to get to ball’s in the gap quickly and keeping a hit to a single, or taking away a hit completely, is invaluable. The outfield is a team’s last line of defense, so it must be strong and consistent.
If you are an outfielder looking to keep your skills up, or even take your game to a next level, try these drills from the comfort of your own home.
- DROP STEP DRILL
This simple drill allows you to practice tracking down flyballs hit over you or to either side of you and helps you develop proper footwork and a quick first step.
Grab a cone and five baseballs. Set the cones up in a rainbow formation: One in the center and the others 10 – 15 feet away from the center cone (one directly to the left, one to the right, one directly behind and then two diagonally from the cone). Stand in your ready position over the center cone as though you are waiting for a ball to be put into play. Now sprint to the cone on your left, making sure you are properly turning your body so that you are leading with the foot closest to the direction you are trying to go. Sprint back to the center cone, and repeat the drill going to the first diagonal cone, then the one directly behind you, then diagonally to your right, and then finally directly to your right.
This drill teaches you how to get a faster first step on a fly ball as well as how to position your body so that you are always facing the direction the ball is going and not trying to look over your shoulder, contorting your body and slowing yourself down. This will also help you eliminate any phantom steps you may have developed, increasing how quickly you are able to accelerate.
DURATION: 10 Minutes
- OUTFIELD TRANSITION DRILLS
This drill can be done indoors in a room with a high ceiling, but we recommend doing this one outdoors. This one allows you to work on correctly positioning and readying your body to make a perfect throw from the outfield to the infield after making a catch. Gently throw the baseball into the air and get behind the ball as you would in an actual game. Catch the ball and then work on transitioning to your throwing position. As you do this, pay attention to where your arms and hands are. Make sure they are up by your chest and close to your body so you will have a quick, efficient throwing motion. Also pay attention to your feet, making sure that they are pointing in the direction that you want to throw. Use a training ladder or cones to mark where you want your feet to be with each repetition.
TOTAL TIME: 5 Minutes
- ZIG-ZAG DRILL
Any outfielder knows that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you will just misread a flyball or the wind will push the ball in a different direction, causing you to have to adjust your path to the ball, along with how you position your body. This drill will help you practice and prepare for these unfortunate occasions.
Set up six cones in a zig-zag formation, all about 8 feet away from each other. Hover over the first cone in your ready position, and then run to the next cone, looking up as though you were tracking down a fly ball. Once you get to the cone, Turn your body and pivot your hips to run to the next cone. Repeat until you have run to all the cones, completing the zig-zag.
The key to this drill is how quickly you can adjust your body to get in position to run in a different direction, all while never taking your eye off the ball. Take note of if your eyes and head are changing direction. You should be changing direction with your body, but you should keep your head steady so as to not lose track of the baseball
TOTAL TIME: 5 – 10 Minutes
- CEILING FLIP
Every ballplayer has done this drill at some point in time as it’s simplicity makes it so it can be done while you are just watching TV.
Do this in a room with a high ceiling. While laying on your back, flip a ball a few feet into the air and try to catch the ball without moving. This drill not only helps with hand-to-eye coordination, but also helps players develop the proper backspin on a baseball to make those perfect throws. If you trust yourself you can use an official baseball, but we recommend a softstitch ball.
TOTAL TIME: 15 Minutes
REPETITION: Every Other Day
- BUCKET THROW
We’ve focused on properly fielding and chasing down flyballs, this drill will focus on developing your throwing accuracy. This drill requires some space so we suggest taking this to the backyard or a nearby field if one is available.
Grab a ball bucket and lay it down on it’s side. Now set yourself up about 100 feet away from the bucket. Grab some baseballs and start throwing them towards the bucket, trying to actually get the baseball into the bucket. As you progress through the drill, move further and further back to practice throws from greater distances.
You want to aim for the bucket because it helps you get in the habit of throwing the ball in an easy area for you infielders to not only catch the ball, but quickly apply a tag on any runner attempting to move up a base, or even score a run.
You can also use this drill to practice your transitions from catching a flyball to fielding a ball on the ground.
We recommend also setting up a net behind the bucket to gather any errant balls that miss their target, unless you are looking to add in some light cardio to your home training.
TOTAL TIME: 20 Minutes
REPETITION: Every Other Day
Do these drills consistently and you will find yourself playing like a pro the next time you take the field. Your pitcher and your infielders will thank you.
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