Teaching Your Players the Importance of Fundamental Baseball Will Pay Off During the Course of a Season
By John Focht
With the season’s beginning to change and the winter chill finally behind us, it’s time to start thinking about lacing the spikes and oiling the mitts: it’s baseball season. As spring approaches, now is a good time to start prepping on some of the drills to run for the upcoming Little League or High School seasons. After all, no matter the league or division, a brush-up on the fundamentals is necessary for all players this time of year.
Home-to-Second and First-to-Third Drills
It’s usually the little things that win and lose ball games at any level. Getting an extra base out of a hit into the outfield, or being able to grab an extra base when someone gets a hit while you are on base is sometimes the difference between a win and a loss.
Spring training practices is a great time to go over the fundamentals of base running with your team. Teaching and coaching your players how and when to take the extra base now will pay huge dividends for you sometime later in the season when you need it in a big game.
Hitting the cutoff man
On the flip-side, defensively knowing to hit the cutoff man following hits into the outfield can also be the difference between a win or a loss. Coaches should be teaching the fundamentals to the outfielders and infielders on where the ball should be thrown in certain situations of a game.
Very often at the Little League level, and even the high school level, outfielders are not sure where to throw the ball after a hit is lined into the outfield. A good base-runner will pick up on that right away and always grab an extra bag because the outfielder doesn’t know where to throw the ball.
Practice throws from the outfield into the cutoff man. Let the outfielders and infielders know where to position themselves after a hit into the outfield. Each player in the field has a job to do when a ball is hit into the field; going over throw’s to the cutoff man will pay off big for you during the season.
Bunting is a lost art at all levels. It’s a sure-fire way to get the leadoff batter on base and stir up a little rally. Today’s game is sometimes too often geared toward the long-ball or bust. Playing small-ball is an excellent way to steal a run or two out of any game.
Coach your leadoff hitters and bottom-of-the-order guys the art of bunting. Getting those guys on base will pay huge dividends for you when the heart of your order is due up. Coaching the smaller guys in your line-up how to bunt will also force the opposing team to play you differently in the field because of the threat of a bunt.
Originally published on Yahoo! Voice March 27, 2014.