OUTFIELD PLAY Napoleon Wildcat Baseball These are the fundamental components of outfield play Teaching Goals * Learn pre-pitch routine and ready position. • React with correct footwork to batted balls. • Learn communication terminology and priorities with other players. • Learn proper angles of pursuit. • Be introduced to proper techniques of catching and throwing. • Be aware of changing game situations and how they affect strategy. • Receive daily work on techniques and fundamentals. • Receive daily work on reading the ball "live” off the bat. PRE-PITCH ROUTINE / READY POSITION • Walk into square position as ball approaches plate, complete movement as ball reaches the hitting zone. • Hands off knees, weight on balls of your feet. • Into an athletic, reactive stance (knees bent, butt down, back straight). • Must be relaxed to insure proper and quick reaction. • Step back after each pitch and walk back into ready position. BALL REACTION • First two steps are the most important. • Ball in your direction open half step to glove side and react to ball. • Fly ball must get to where the ball will land. • “Don’t drift, beat it to the spot.” • Ground ball must get to where the ball can be cut-off and thrown. • Ball straight on take one drop step (glove side foot) and read. • Ball directly overhead drop step to glove side and turn and run to the spot. • Must run using proper running techniques (and find the baseball in the first two reactive steps), head should not bounce, do not put glove out too early and never take your eyes off the baseball. • Ball on throwing side – Short jab step, with throwing side foot. – Crossover and run. CATCHING AND THROWING • Goal: get rid of the ball as soon as possible with something on it and with accuracy. • Catch the baseball over your throwing shoulder with two hands. • 4 seam grip on the baseball. • Throw with proper techniques (goal post; right, left, throw). • Step through with your throwing side foot (pivot foot) forward as the ball hits your glove and get your chest square to target. • Quick, short "crow-hop' with pivot foot as body turns to get target shoulder on line and assume goal-post position. • Catch the baseball moving towards target (round off ground balls). • Players must find the proper balance between quickness (getting rid of the ball) and getting something on the ball, every player and every situation will dictate something different. • Must know the situation and be realistic about when to try to throw someone out. COMMUNICATION AND PRIORITY • OF call: • Priority: • CF over all players. – “Mine, Mine, Mine!” • OF over all infielders. = I will catch it. • SS over all infielders. – “Yours, Yours, • Middle infielders over corner Yours!" = Your infielders. catch. • Infielders over catcher. – “Fence, Fence, Fence!”= five steps • We never call for the baseball away unless we are 100% sure we • IF Call: will catch it. Get to the baseball 1st and then call for it – Same as above. 2nd! THROWING RUNNERS OUT • Our goal is to avoid the big inning. The hitter must not end up on second after an RBI single. • Ball at you throw out the lead runner. • Coming in approach with the mindset to throw the runner out and the make final decision when the ball is in your glove. • Ball away throw to 2nd base. • All throws must be made so the cut-off man can catch it. SITUATION AWARENESS • Must communicate with other players and coaches (others must know what you will do). • Know the score, the inning, playing conditions, weather, etc. • Know who is up (position in the order, past results, speed, size, stance, scouting report).. • Situation can change fly ball, ground ball priorities (must be discussed, not assumed). • Know your teammates. • Outfielders must force themselves into the flow of the game. Talk to each other. Make the infielders communicate with you. Do not assume anything about the situation or strategy. • Outfielders may only get one ball hit to them the entire game but it may be the most important play of the game. Outfielders must assume that every pitch will be hit their way and that every ball hit is theirs until proven otherwise. COACHING THOUGHTS • Develop a work ethic and pride as a group. • Keep the ball off the fence. No triples. • Make all doubles be earned (hard hit balls to the deeper parts of the park). No “Texas Leaguers” or “Duck Snorts” for doubles. • Be aggressive. If it has a hump in it we should catch it. • Good outfielders are developed two ways: – Fungo work is done to drill mechanics (footwork, routes, catching and throwing). – Live balls taken off the bat during batting practice is the only way to learn proper reaction. Reading balls off the bat will happen daily and must be done at game speed. All outfielders should work in positions and react to every ball off the bat (4-6 steps). • Read the pitch, read the swing, read the sound off the bat.