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Oswego Baseball & Softball Association




I use groups of three players to aid in conditioning. The first player moves forward under control from the starting line. Coach rolls a ball to him and the player breaks down and fields the ball. The player then BACK PEDDLES as fast as he can to the starting line and flips the ball to players on the side waiting their turn. When he reaches the starting line, he moves forward again and breaks down to field the second ball. The player BACK PEDALS again and repeats for the third ball. Coach won't roll the balls until the player is moving.




We use this drill at the beginning of the season. It gives players a lot of reps at fielding ground balls and fly balls. It is a great drill at the beginning of the season as a judge to see which players are outfielders and which are infielders.


The drill requires two fungos, one on the first base side of home and one on the third base side of home about half way between the bases. The drill works best with 10 players. Each fungo has a shagger. Align four players at the infielder positions. The other four players should play outfield, with a LF, LCF, RCF and a RF. The 1B fungo hits ground balls to the third baseman and shortstop that return the ball to his shagger. He then hits fly balls to the LF and LCF who relay to the 3B and SS respectively. The 3B fungo hits ground balls to the 2B and 1B who return to the third base shagger he then hits fly balls to the RCF and RF who relay to the 2B and 1B respectively. After three reps the players rotate.


The 1B becomes shagger for the third base fungo, while the 3B shagger moves to LF. The RF becomes shagger for 1B fungo, while the 1B shagger moves to 3B. All other player rotates to the position on his or her left.


If you have more than 10 players this is also a great time for you to have your pitchers and catchers working off to the side, out of the way of badly thrown balls.


This can be a little dangerous if not done with caution since two balls are going at once, but it is a great way to evaluate the players and the rotating keeps them from getting bored.




I have a drill that I run every so often that the kids really enjoy. This drill is designed to teach the kids to get rid of the ball and not hold it. The younger kids sometimes get confused and just hold the ball.


The drill consists of your squad broken into two teams. The first team will line up one behind the other in the shortstop position. The others line up behind first base. A five-gallon bucket is placed upside down on first base. A coach will drop a ball in front of the first person in line. The player has 3 seconds (which the coach counts out loudly) to pick up the ball and throw at the bucket. If the bucket is missed the fielders behind first will field the ball and throw it back to the coach. This drill works best with a large number of balls. You go through each team member 4-5 times and keep track of the hits. Switch sides and keep score.


We also have both teams lined up and throwing at the same time and run it on a timed basis. This however involves a large number of coaches. If you have the parental involvement, the head to head competition is also a huge hit.


The kids thrive on the competition. This teaches quick release, fielding, throwing accuracy and keeping the throw where the first baseman can catch it. This is huge hit with the kids year after year.






For kids from 5 years to 10 years old, one of the most frustrating drills for the players and the coach is the warm-up throws.


No matter what you say, the two lines will grow farther and farther apart, the kids will start throwing humongous rainbows to each other and they will spend most of the drill running after the balls.


But this is a necessary evil as the kids need their arms and shoulders stretched and warm and they need to develop catching and throwing, or else they will be playing defense all day long.


Here's a drill to get your team to stop playing FETCH and to start playing catch:


First, circle up your players with 15-20 feet between players and coach in the middle. Give one player a ball and have them throw to the next player (clockwise or counterclockwise). Have them throw around easy until you get 2 laps and expect them to drop it a few times.


After 2 laps, tell them you want 2 more laps faster but anyone who drops a good throw or makes a wild throw will owe a lap around the outside of the circle.


You can inject a 2nd ball and a 3rd ball if they get going good. Also, you can develop the relay-pivot maneuver with this same circle drill.


You'll be amazed at how the challenge aspect of this drill perks of their enthusiasm and skills!! It really works.



Purpose: To improve the player's ability to charge a softly hit ground ball.


Procedure: The drill can have as many tossers as desired. Drill can have three or more players in the lines, which are about 70 feet in front of the tossers.


The tosser throws a ground ball so that the player has to charge the ball at about midway between the tosser and the player. The player then throw the ball back to the tosser, turns to the right, and jogs back to the end of the line. A variation of this drill would be for infielders to start about 70 feet in front of the tossers, outfielders should start about 90 feet in front of the tossers. The tosser still attempts to throw the ground ball so that the player has to charge the ball at about midway between the tosser and the player. Rotation can also be varied so that the player replaces the tosser who in turns goes to the end of the line.



This is a fun drill to help the 1st and 2nd graders I coach develop good hands, quick release, and hustle to a loose ball. I have the players line up across from a partner about 20 feet apart. They are to make good throws back and forth as many times as they can while I count down from 30 to zero. The player who does not have the ball at zero wins. (Winning usually puts you in the first group for batting practice.) You should see the kids scramble for a dropped, or passed ball. Baseball is fun. Let's make practice fun too.



This fielding drill is called the "Double play drill". You will need a catcher, two players at 1st base, and the remaining players evenly divided at the shortstop and 2nd base positions.


The coach hits a ground ball to the SS position; the 2B player runs to 2B and then pivots and throws to 1B. The two players then go around to the end of the opposite line they came from.


Once everyone has had a chance to field at the SS position the coach then hits the ball to the 2B position, the SS covers 2B, then pivots and throws to 1B.


Once everyone has had a chance to field at 2B the coach then randomly hits the ball to either the SS or 2B position. The two players at 1B rotate positions every three catches. The second player at 1B acts as a backup for overthrows.



This drill is designed to quicken reaction time to grounders and line drives using lateral movement. We've been doing the following for several years with our summer 12-year-old traveling squad.


At the end of each practice the entire team competes in a contest to see which player can keep the most out of ten balls from hitting a chain link fence at his back. The fungo hitter stands only thirty-five or so feet from the fielder. The fielder has 20 feet of fence to cover. The fence is 6 feet tall. We hit to the left and the right, up and down. The pace between fungos quickens. A clean catch is not necessary to score. The player need only keep the ball from hitting the fence to his rear. By the end of the summer players need 8 to 10 to win. (PS. I caught for FSU from '59-61. Love to hear from anyone on that squad.



This drill helps with the basic fundamentals such as getting into a proper fielding position, lateral movement, throwing, and lots of running. It also has the advantage of working indoors as well as outdoors.


Have three players line up about 70 feet from the rest of the group (everybody can participate) and give the first player in the line a ball. The rest of the group should line up slightly to the side so the fielder can run left or right. Then the player with the ball throws it on the ground to the first player on the other side, who fields it properly, throws it to the second player in the first line, and runs over to join the first line. The player who threw the grounder should run to the other line after his throw. This then continues until everybody is dead tired.


We usually first throw the grounders to the left, then right, then straight on so the fielder has to run in and make an underhand flip. We usually round off with both sides throwing the ball back and forth instead off rolling it. In short: throw grounder and run, field, throw, and run. You can vary the distance as well as putting only two players in the first line, which will force the players to really run unless they want the ball in their neck.



Purpose: To provide players with an opportunity to field a large number of ground balls.


Procedure: Drill has one fielder, who is 60 feet in front of hitter, and one shagger, who stands on the right side of the hitter. (Three person groups.) Drill can have as many groups as desired.


The hitter hits 10 ground balls to the player. After fielding the 10 ground balls, the player becomes the shagger, the shagger becomes the hitter, and the hitter becomes the new fielder. The drill continues to proceed in this manner for as long as desired.




Too often, young players make the mistake of fielding ground balls with their glove on the ground, directly below their crotch, rather than extended out in front of them. This drill helps ensure proper extension.


Lay a bat on the ground perpendicular to a line of players. The first player in line should be 6-8 feet from the bat in a ready position. Coach is 8-10 from the bat, opposite the players. Coach rolls ball toward the bat. Player must approach the ground ball and assume a good fielding position right at the bat, without his feet touching or going over it. In order to prevent the ball from rolling into the bat the player must have his glove extended, rather than hanging directly down below his crotch. Once player secures the ball he sprints forward and places the ball at the feet of the coach who is already rolling a ball to the next player. Continue until all players have had sufficient reps.



1. Have infielders start about 30-40 ft from coach or partner. Infielder starts with glove open and fingertips on the ground. Coach or partner rolls the ball to infielder. The glove stays in contact with the ground and open to the ball the entire time the ball is motion except for the last movement. The last movement can be up, but never down. This gets them to feel the old "stay down and work up" concept.


2. Have infielder start at position with coach or partner hitting a fungo to fielder. Need not hit too hard but can make the ball bounce a little (no big hoppers). The concept is the same.


If the player fields the ball correctly tell him so and build his confidence. If not, if hands go up then down, or player flips by showing the back of the glove and then flipping around, or if the glove leaves contact with the ground too early then the player does a sprint to the outfield fence and back or does pushups-Good Pushups.


This is a great drill to show and feel proper fielding of groundball technique when breaking down.



Purpose: To improve the player's ability to react and move laterally in fielding a ground ball.


Procedure: The drill has two tossers near the pitching area. Each tosser has two shaggers with one standing on each side of the tosser. The drill can have four or more players in each line. One line of players is at the shortstop's defensive position, while the other line of players is at the second baseman's defensive position.


The tosser throws a ground ball randomly to the right or left of the player making the player move laterally to field the ball. After fielding the ball, the player throws the ball back to the shagger on that side. Then the player turns to the outside and Jogs back to the end of the line.




1. To improve the players overall conditioning.

2. To improve the player's ability to move laterally and to assume a good defensive position in fielding a ground ball.


Procedure: The drill has one tosser and one player, who are 6-7 feet apart facing each other. (Pairs) Drill can have as many groups as desired.


The tosser rolls a ball about 5-6 feet out to the side. The player moves on a semicircular path to field the ball. After picking-up the ball, the player throws the ball back to the tosser. The tosser then rolls a ball about 5-6 feet out to the opposite side, and the player fields the ball in a similar manner. The drill sequence is repeated from five to 10 times depending on the player's conditioning level.


The number of repetitions is increased as the players conditioning level improves. It is important for the player to field the ball by moving on a semicircular path in order for the drill to be effective.




I use drill similar to the lateral pick-up drill of Jamie Roberts. Instead of two players I use three, one is the feeder, the second is the fielder and the third mimics the fielder in all motions. The feeder starts by announcing the direction at first, and both rolls and short hops the ball to the fielder who must field the ball by funneling it into his glove showing "soft-hands", come to a throwing position and return the ball to the feeder. The mimic follows all of the fielder’s motions. Places are switched after 10-12 tosses. This gets more fielders involved and enables me to watch the fielding fundamentals of two players.





Purpose: To improve the player's ability to catch a fly ball over the shoulder.


Procedure: The drill can have as many tossers as desired. The drill can have 4 or more players in each line. Each player has a ball.


The tosser stands on the left side of the player. The player hands the ball to the tosser, and then runs out, and the tosser leads with a fly ball so that the player has to reach to catch the ball over the left shoulder. After catching or retrieving the ball, the player turns to the left, and jogs back to the end of the line.


A variation of this drill would be to work the players in a rotation of tosser, fielder, and the end of the line. Make sure to have all players also work on fielding fly balls over the right shoulder.



Paddle drill is a different form of soft hands drill, and a drill or two to go along with it.


We use black rubber conveyor belt or something with a similar density to take out the sting. The optimal width of the material is about 3/8" thick. Lay your glove hand flat on a piece of paper and draw a line around it. Give yourself about 1 1/2 to 2 inches cushion around the entire hand. Cut on the dotted line and now you have an outline for a paddle. You just need the material to cut it out of. Something that will not shock if we want to catch baseballs with it, but something that will make the player use his free hand to catch the ball. The best we have found is the conveyor belt.


Once we have cut the paddles, we add a strap (that covers the entire back of the hand) of inner tube to the back to hold the paddle in place. We drill holes in the paddle and run a piece of leather through each side to hold the tube in place. We use a sort of plastic washer to hold the tube down. They are easy to make, very cheap if you can access the materials, and we have never had one break...Never!


The four basic paddle drills are designed to simulate the underhand and overhand flips most commonly used by 2nd basemen and shortstops. The players will partner up and start about 10 yards apart. The one with the ball will start in a fielding position, ball in hand, and right shoulder facing his partner. He is about to perform the underhand flip that a 2nd baseman uses in starting a double play. We teach him to pivot on his right foot and his partner the ball the whole way.... flip the ball chest high with no spin on the ball...and follow your flip. The receiving partner in ALL paddle drills performs the motions a 2nd baseman would to complete a double play.... weight on right side, ball up quickly, etc. He will always start in a position facing his partner in a ready position.... hands up and in front of body...weight on the balls of your feet...constant movement with feet in anticipation of any type throw.


Once the ball has gone from originator to receiver we have worked on two different things...and the bonus is the improving eye-hand coordination as a residual effect. Staying where they are, the players switch the original receiver is now tossing and the tosser is now the receiver. The drills go very quickly. The basic four can be completed in 8-10 minutes if you stay on task. You can do them inside or outside and they take very little room. You can use any kind of ball you wish. The benefit from the drills comes from repetition. They should be done daily.


We describe the different paddle drills based on where the tossing partner will start. We want to complete 10 from each starting position daily. It is probably easiest to teach the drills for the first time on the field where they will actually make the movements we are practicing. The kids will understand fairly quickly and will take it from there. The four drills are 1) up close - right shoulder 2) up close - left shoulder 3) back up - right shoulder 4) back up - left shoulder. Number 1 is the one we described above and it is the 2nd baseman's toss from close to the bag. Number two is the shortstop's toss from close to the bag. Number 3 is the 2nd baseman's toss from further back, when he must toss the ball overhanded. Number 4, of course, is the shortstop's overhand toss. We give our middle infielders the rule for when to use which toss in a game: if the ball is at you or takes you to the bag, you should flip underhanded. You must communicate your intentions verbally as soon as you know which actions you will take.


These are the basic paddle drills. I didn't describe the footwork that we teach because the drills are not limited to my preferences. Although many coaches would like information on that subject, it is not the subject of this piece of information (email me if interested).




This drill makes fielding fun and competitive and puts the players in pressure situations.


Put your infielders in their positions with 2 players at each spot.


Rule is you must make play correctly and make good throw. If you don’t do everything right, everyone on your infield team does push-ups and the next group goes.


Start with infield in and come to plate for force.

Next is infield in with runner on third.

Next is regular depth, nobody on.

Next is runner on first.

Next are runners on first and second.

Finally, move infield deep with nobody on.


You can allow for balls to be blocked as long as when they pick it up, they immediately throw it and don’t pump it in their gloves.


If they do make a mistake, you start all over with that team on the step they were on. The team that loses does sit-ups while the others go home.




During midseason when all your offense and defense's are installed and your practices are basic maintenance, a good competitive drill for the outfielders is called "500". It combines as many skills as you want as well as being fun for the players. We usually break it down into 2 days so the drill itself doesn’t get too repetitive.


On day 1 the four skills are ground balls to the left and right around cones, line drives and fly balls against the fence. On day 2 it is deep fly ball to the left and right, do - or - dies and sliding catches. If the player does the skill correctly and completes the play then they get 25 points. If they don' two the skill correctly or don't complete the play then they get a -25 points. If a player makes a spectacular play on the sliding catch, for instance, the then coach can give them an extra 5 to 10 points.


You can obviously use any combination of skills that you want for any of the positions. I suggest that you include at least one skill that is fun for the players like the sliding catch drill. We usually let the 1st and 2nd place winners choose their field cleanup chore. When we do this drill the other position players can also be "playing" this drill.


It is a great drill because we can get something productive done and the players don't get bored.




One of the basic fielding drills that our kid’s use is called the "Soft Hands" drill.


We took a Ping-Pong paddle and cut the handle off and stapled a batting glove to the back. The player puts his glove hand in the glove and fields ground balls from a fungo. The drill emphasizes the use of the top hand, to ensure the ball doesn't become loose and so that the throwing hand is there to throw or flip the ball.




The drills I would like to share is one that helps infielders to develop "soft" hands and release the ball quickly and one that helps with lateral movement and fielding.


Have four infielders form a square with about 10 ft. between them. Then, without gloves they flip the ball around counter-clockwise, then shift direction and gradually increases the distance. In the other one divide the infielders into pairs and have them face their partner at a distance of about 10 to 15ft., then, while moving sideways they roll the ball to each other a couple of times before shifting direction. It's important in this drill that the fielders stay low and get rid of the ball quickly.




Line up team at the shortstop position.


Line up team at the 2nd base position.


Coach at home plate with bucket of balls.


Have two players act as catcher, one on each side of the coach.


Hit grounders to alternate sides, having the fielder throw the ball to the appropriate side catcher.


After player fields the ball and throws to the left or right side catcher, the player runs to the rear of the opposite line to await his/her turn at fielding grounders from the other side. Make sure the fielding player runs around their line, and behind it to the opposite side, thus not to interfere with the next person up.




This will help develop the skill of fielding a ball that hit the fence, then turning toward their the gloved hand and throwing 100-125 feet to a relay man with no bounce.


Procedure: Have the players form a single line, the first person becomes the fielder and a coach or the second person in line throws the ball past the fielder up against the fence. The play is made, then the second person in line becomes the fielder and the original fielder goes to the end of the line.


Remember to check if the fielder is turning toward the gloved hand and that the throws are at head height. Make sure their arms are warmed up and in condition and don't let them make to many throws unless there as some rest in between.




Need a drill that enables your infielders to get maximum reps on ground balls and throwing to first, in a short period of time. "Three Bag" is perfect.


This drill is designed for 60' bases. Adjust accordingly for 90' bases. This drill utilizes three First Bases. Place a throw down base approximately 40' from home plate, next is the regular base at 60', then place a third bag 20' farther down the line. 3 coaches are positioned near home plate with a bucket of balls. One coach hits grounders to the third baseman (he throws to the bag at 40'), another coach hits to the SS (he throws to the normal first base bag). The third coach hits to the second baseman (he throws to the bag at 80') It may sound confusing, and a lot is going on with three coaches hitting grounders at the same time, but a tremendous amount gets accomplished. Each infielder will get numerous ground balls and throws across the diamond.


Additional Drill Organization:

A) Each first baseman can have a bucket to toss his balls into, or if you have limited balls, he can "lazy toss" back to the coach.

B) You probably don't have three kids that play 1st base, so adapt and use additional players (such as a catcher) for this particular drill.

C) Each time you do this drill you might focus on something different (ground balls to the left, ground balls to the right, slow rollers) or you can alternate during the drill, spending 3-4 minutes on each type of ground ball.

D) Don't forget the value of this drill to your first baseman. They should be working on proper stretch, scooping balls in the dirt, tagging down on a high throw as they would in a game, etc.




"Two Hands When You Can"


As a Tee-ball Coach working with beginners we do our best to come up with

Catch phrases or anything that will help them remember how it feels to do it right. One of the ways I have found that helps the youngsters in remembering to field the ball with two hands is simply with two rubber bands. Simply tie the rubber bands together forming a figure 8 and put them around both wrists, you can have several sets of these so you can do this drill quicker. Each player takes 5-10 grounders, and as they field each ball, they obviously cannot throw so you have them move their feet and body into a throwing position. The rubber bands help make them keep their hands together by the resistance of the rubber bands. This will help in getting them to use both hands together to field the ball. After you have done this, take the rubber bands off, and have them do the drill again. This time, have the kids make their throw. It is amazing how well this drill works. Another benefit of the two hands drill, is helping younger kids who cant quite "squeeze" the glove yet, or have a new glove not yet broken making it difficult to keep the ball from "popping out."


Note: Obviously you must be careful to properly supervise young kids for the potential for horseplay with rubber bands.  





Split your team up into an A and B team. Have the A team spread out between second and third base and the B team spread out between second base and first base.


Once this is accomplished, have a coach (from home plate) hit ground balls to each teams side. If a ball gets through on either side of the infield and makes it to the outfield grass, then that team receives a point. First team with ten points losses.


Kids love this game and are really aggressive (diving) going after the ball. This game has also taught my kids the importance of backing up one another when fielding a ground ball.




This game is similar to the Point game, but this game is an individual competition.


Have each player take a turn in the Pit. The Pit is an 8-10 feet horizontal span area up against any type of wall surface. Have each player take a turn in the Pit receiving a ground ball. If the any ball gets past the player in the Pit, within the span area, then he or she is out of the game. For the player who field the ground ball cleanly and makes an accurate throw back to the coaches hitting, make the ground balls faster and tougher.


We usually use a soft baseball in case the ball is missed (the ball then goes directly off the wall and back towards the player) and in situations were the players are fielding cleanly and the balls are starting to come faster.







A major defensive skill is catching. This includes catching a thrown ball, catching a grounder hit off a bat, and catching a fly ball. Initially, some players will be afraid of catching a baseball. That fear will make them flinch right before the ball reaches the glove. They'll end up dropping the ball instead of catching it, or, worse, the ball may hit them. By that time, they may be ready to quit.


Teaching players the correct catching technique is not easy. You must first over come their fear of getting hit by a hard ball. That's why it's so much better to start kids with safety balls that don't hurt. Players can miss the ball, even get conked on the head with it, and not wind up with a big bump and bruise. When your players have mastered catching the safety ball, you can introduce easy catching with a regulation baseball.


To catch a baseball, the player should position the glove according to the flight of the ball. If the ball is below the waist, the fingers and the palm of the glove hand should be pointed down with the mitt fully open. If the ball is chest high, the fingers and the palm of the glove should be pointing out, with the thumbs pointing to the sky. If the ball is above the chest, the fingers point toward the sky. In all catching attempts, a player should:


1.              Keep eyes on the ball

2.              Have both hands ready, with arms relaxed and extended towards the ball

3.              Bend the elbows to absorb the force of the throw

4.              Watch the ball into the glove and squeeze it.

5.              After the catch, the player should immediately grip the ball with the throwing hand in the correct overhand throwing technique.




Making an Infielder: "Baseball is a 4 second game between bases."


An infielder should never stand around; make him fix the dirt for holes in between pitches. When fielding ground balls he should show his pocket of the glove and use alligator the top hand and the glove look. When picking up the ball, the body should form a triangle...knees to feet with forearms and glove form triangle with the ground. Then the infielder should make an out to in and down to up motion, or a rounded "L" figure. It should be one continuous motion to the belly button and then to the shoulders for the throw.




When outfielders have been standing around quite a while due to an "infield game", timeouts (injury or otherwise), pitching changes, etc., they run the risk of hurting their arm if they have to really uncork a throw.


I have coached them to hold their glove in their throwing hand and do arm rotations and simulate throws. The weight of the glove helps to provide some muscle resistance and keeps things warm and stretched out. They also keep their legs warm by jogging in place and doing some light stretching.


All of this helps to reduce injury when they are involved in an outfield play.


Just a note; be sure to have your pitchers check and signal all fielders before pitching.




The Crucial First Base Play: Make sure that the 1B can get to the bag without having to run and catch at the same time. When receiving a throw make sure the 1B uses both hands, and that he catches the ball with the fingers of the glove pointing up, especially from the knees to the thigh. This forces the head to stay behind the glove.


When stretching, the 1B should land on the heel of his foot, as this will push you back to the bag making sure you don't pull your foot.


When fielding a bunt you should always use two hands. Anticipate getting the lead runner by setting up your feet to throw in that particular direction.


If you have to tag the runner, hold the ball with the throwing hand inside the glove. After tag, sweep arms in the direction of the runner and immediately separate hands with the ball still in throwing hand.


If you have to feed the pitcher covering first, move towards the pitcher, not the bag, and make sure you are showing him the ball. Underhand the ball whenever possible, and make sure it is a chest high throw. Use a stiff wrist when throwing underhand and only follow through to around eye level. Get the ball to the pitcher before he gets to the bag. If you have to throw overhand, throw the ball like you are throwing a dart.




The Double Play: "Make sure of one" is considered as being negative. Pivot man must get to bag early, and the first throw to that player is the most important. Try to make the throw where the 2B wants it. The 2B should only have to change the direction of the ball, not catch it. He should receive the ball on the glove side of his body, so that his momentum carries him to 1B. You should time how long it takes for the 2B to make his turn and throw to 1B.... time from the moment the ball hits his glove to the time the ball hits the 1B's glove. A good throw will take .4 seconds off the pivot man's turn. After the pivot, the 2B should point his toe to 1B to open his hips to be able to throw in that direction. For the SS, the ball should be thrown to the outfield side of the bag. From here the SS should sweep the bag his momentum will be towards first.

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