Half of playing in the outfield is knowing whose ball is which and when you’re supposed to go and where you’re supposed to go. So in today’s blog post, we’re talking about outfielder plays and working through inside-outside routes (high-low routes) and making sure that we know where we’re supposed to go when the balls are hit.

Outfielder Plays: Fly Ball Inside-Outside Routes

When the ball comes off the bat and heads in a certain direction, we already know who’s supposed to take it because we’ve worked through this in practice.

Something that’s hit right at somebody, that’s an easy one. The tough one is the one hit in between. In order to avoid a collision and insure that we catch the ball, we have to have some idea as to who’s going to go after the ball and who’s going to back up the play.

What we tell our outfielders is this – if we have a right-handed hitter who pulls the ball down the left field line or into the gap into left field, or he hits a ball between center and left, the ball’s going to tail some but not a terrible amount.

Our center fielder is going to take this ball, which is what we call the inside route. With his glove in the air he’ll take the inside, or the high, route. And the player backing him up will take the low route. Which means that if the center fielder misses the ball and it drops down, we’ve got an outfielder left to be able to field it.

We want to make sure that that our outfielder, or the low route in this case, gets 15-20 feet behind the other outfielder. That allows both outfielders to run full speed without having to worry about whether they’re going to run together. The minute the ball comes off the bat and the right-handed hitter hits a ball left field, our center fielder’s going to take that ball.

Conversely, if a left-handed hitter hits a ball to the opposite field, it tails hard to the line. And on that ball, you reverse the roles in the outfield. By doing this, you don’t overextend an outfielder into a situation where he’s trying to catch a ball that just keeps running away from him. And if we do it this way, he can catch up to that ball, we avoid the collision, and we also make sure that we catch the ball.


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