EQUIPMENT: Balls, JUGS Instant Screen or JUGS Protective Screen
PURPOSE: Multiple defensive drill work for players who pitch and play other infield positions.
This drill allows defensive work at multiple positions in little time. This is a rotational drill from station to station for pitchers, all infielders, and catchers. The drill allows coaches to mix in areas of concentration that they see are needed. There is no “one way” to perform this series. First, all of your outfielders who are not pitchers, or don’t play any infield position, are used as fungo hitters, ball rollers, and ball bucket handlers. Here is one series that we use in our practice plan. Remember, you can be creative and mix it up any way you like.
Batting practice mats are placed in front of the pitcher’s rubber, one on each side of the rubber shaded to the first base side and the other to the third base side. Divide pitchers into two groups. If there are players who play an infield position and pitch, they can start the series at any position, but they must rotate to another position after each play. Catchers work with the third base side pitchers on communicating and fielding bunt plays to the third base. A player or coach rolls the bunt out after the pitcher simulates a pitch. The ball is fielded and thrown to third base where the third basemen use both tag fundamentals and force out fundamentals around the bag. RHPs are to use the spin move and catchers must learn to play with the mask on throughout the play. The ball is then tossed to a player manning a JUGS bucket. POINT: If catchers also play other positions, you may not have them wear equipment, or just have them wear the protective mask.
First basemen are at first base fielding balls hit by a player or coach. The pitchers on this side are covering first base working with the first basemen on the flip play. This also allows the first baseman and pitcher to communicate when the first basemen can take the play himself. The first basemen alternate plays each ball between the flip play at first and throwing to second base for a force out or start of a double play. Here you can use the shortstop or you may put a JUGS Square Screen at the 45′ or 50′ mark in the baseline and have your first basemen throw into the screen. This allows your shortstop and second baseman to work the flip and pivot at second base on the double play ball. A coach or player can stand behind the mound and roll or fungo balls to the shortstop and second base. Remember, have players move on every play. Have them sprint to their new position each time. This is good for conditioning.
The goal is to get multiple reps, have everyone involved and utilize time.
An example of an alternate series is to put one mat directly in front of the pitcher’s rubber and have pitchers field balls, hit, or rolled back at them and work the throw to second base and have the shortstop come across the bag and throw into the JUGS Screen placed in the throwing lane. Two lines of catchers, one on each side of the plate, the third base side catchers can work on fielding bunts and throwing to third base, or they can work on pickoff throws to third base with the third baseman breaking in behind the runner. The first base-side catchers can do the same with the first basemen. The second baseman works on bunt defense rotation where he takes the throw from the catcher, concentrating on body position and footwork on the first base bag.
Remember, you can have as many variations as you like to involve all areas of infield defense. We usually do two series each day for about 15 to 20 minute each series. No player is allowed to walk from station to station. Saves time using these drills as conditioning.
By: Davy Cothron
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