My players were in a tournament this past weekend and lost. Part of the reason we lost was that we gave up several opportunities to turn some double plays as we couldn’t execute on a basic infield pop fly with a runner taking a big lead.
Double Play Drill
I used a pitching machine and set it up to throw pop flies; the beauty of this is that it will throw the pop fly in the same spot time after time. I usually use it to practice pop flies in the outfield but adjusted the spring down a few notches so that it would only throw it to the infield.
I had the machine set up at home plate, had a station of players playing short stop, a station of players at first base and 2 runners between 1st and 2nd to simulate someone on first taking a big lead off. The idea was that once the short stop catches the ball the runner, halfway between 1st and 2nd has to turn and get back to first and beat the throw.
Now we missed about 6 infield pop ups during the game and each time there was a runner on 1st. When you were done playing first you became the runner, when you were done running you then went to SS, when you were done playing SS you went to 1st base.
After an hour of this practice they were all catching that routine infield pop fly, shifting their feet towards 1st making a great transfer of the ball from mitt to throwing hand and firing hard to 1st and turning double plays like pro’s.
It was simply showing them what they needed to do and then the repetitive motion of doing it over and over. When practice was over they were upset as they were having so much fun.
The kids all had a blast and loved the practice. It was new and they had fun learning something new and something that beat us the last game. I feel confident that with practice a few more times, they will never blow an infield pop fly and possible double play.