In today’s blog post, we are talking more about drills and exercises for your outfielders. By incorporating these outfielder drills, your athletes can reach their maximum potential to make those winning plays!
The Crossover Step
I like to do this drill early on with outfielders to teach them how to move their feet and how to set themselves up properly. It’s of great benefit to a young outfielder to learn the correct way to step and how to cut out excess steps that are not necessary.
One key point that I always try to give to our outfielders is every time you take an unnecessary step, the base runner who’s in full stride takes two. So every time you make a mistake with any type of footwork, he’s gaining at least six feet every time you make a single mistake.
So it’s imperative that we know how to move. As we go through the five parts of the stance and steps drill, you’ll be able to see the crossover step, the drop step, and the angled drop step that we use in teaching our outfielders how to go after a flyball.
The athlete wants to get their body turned and set to be able to catch the ball and also to be able to get rid of it very rapidly. If you set yourself up with your chest facing the arrival of the ball, all we’ve done at that point is put ourselves in a position where it’s going to take us an extra step to get rid of it.
We also like to call the ball mine, mine, mine. Three times. We feel that if we call the ball three times there’s a better chance that an outfielder that’s next to you will hear you on one of three attempts as opposed to just calling it once.
Angled Drop Step
Now we’re going to work on our angled drop step. The important part of this drill is to make sure that whichever direction I go with the ball, he takes the same step with that same side foot. So if I go this direction with the ball to my right, it would be his left, he’s going to take his first step with his left foot. If he takes the first step with his right foot, he’s cost himself time and his ability to get to the ball.
So he’s going to catch his angle, try to determine where the ball’s coming down, making sure he’s behind the ball so he can run back through it. And we want to try to eliminate any small steps that don’t get you anywhere when you take them. So if we can get that first movement just with his left foot, we’re going to get to the ball that much faster.
For most right-handed outfielders, it’s a little easier to go to the right than it is to the left.
Drop Step Straight Back
Now we go drop step straight back. We always instruct our outfielders on the drop step to make sure that they go straight back and we always drop to the throwing hand side. We want to drop to the throwing hand side so if they come in contact with the outfield fence they’ve got something to cushion their arrival. Drop step straight back with the right foot. We want to make sure that we go in a straight line, because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Looking for more outfielder drill ideas? Then be sure to check out my Baseball Drills & Practice Plans series, complete with video demonstrations! And be sure to Become a Fan on Facebook, where I will share more great outfielder drill tips and techniques!