It is important when baseball players are just starting out, to be well-versed in both infield and outfield skills. You never know as you progress if you will end up playing infield or outfield at a short times notice. Therefore, here are a few key pointers and drills to incorporate into your teams practice, specifically for outfield skills.
Throwing to the Cutoff Man
This is extremely important as an outfielder, this can be the difference between a run and holding runners up. This drill can be used indoors or outdoors.
- Have all your players split up between left field, right field, and centerfield
- Have a net at all cutoff points and number each net
- Have someone hit a fly ball or ground ball to each outfielder
- Right before the fielder fields the ball, yell the number of one of the cutoff nets
- Fielder must throw and hit the correct cut off net
This drill is important for outfielders to focus on fielding the ball cleanly and then making an accurate throw to the correct cutoff net. The nets will help youth baseball players focus in on the target and try to make an accurate throw.
Catching Fly Balls
This is one of the more difficult outfield drill for youth baseball players. When first starting out, some youngsters are afraid of the ball, that is why we recommended using a tennis ball for this drill.
- Have the player kneel in an athletic position and toss the tennis ball up to allow the player to catch and gain confidence before standing up
- Stand up and get in a ready position, throw the tennis ball up, right and left to get the player to move towards the tennis ball and catch the pop up
Backing up Bases
When a ground ball is hit to the second baseman, shortstop or third baseman, the right fielder should sprint to back up the throw to first base. The left fielder and center fielder need to back up the infielder who is making the play on the ball.
When an opponent bunts, outfielders should sprint in to back up the base in front of them, because at that point the infielder has not thrown the ball. Practice hitting to the infield and the outfield and have the players back up accordingly.
Incorporate these outfield drills into your youth baseball practices to help your players develop all the skills necessary to play anywhere on the field.