Wish to Become Exceptional at Baseball? Improve Your Agility by Practicing These Drills

Wish to Become Exceptional at Baseball? Improve Your Agility by Practicing These Drills

Much of today’s youth have been exposed to Hollywood movies, American TV shows, cartoons, pop culture, and sports. That being said, baseball is a sport that many would have some idea of, if not decently familiar with. Many people in not just India, but around the English-speaking world, have drawn parallels between baseball and cricket – after all, both are hugely popular bat and ball sports, each with their staunchly loyal fan following on their respective sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Baseball is a sport that people will readily associate with the United States of America, where it is loved with as much energy and vigour as cricket is loved in India. For those who are new to this highly captivating sport, baseball is a bat and ball game that is played between two teams of players, with nine players on each side. Both the teams take turns in batting and fielding.

The basic format of baseball is as follows: a player on the fielding team (referred to as a ‘pitcher’) throws a ball toward a player on the batting team who must hit it with his bat. The objective of the game in baseball is for the batting team to hit the ball into the field, and at that time its players need to run around the four bases in a counter-clockwise direction to be able to score runs for their team. For the fielding team, the objective is to prevent the players of the batting team from becoming runners and in turn prevent the runners’ movement around the four bases. When a runner successfully moves around the four bases in sequence and touches ‘home base’ a run is scored, which is the position where the player originally started as a batter. In a similar fashion to cricket, whichever team manages to have secured the most runs by the time the game ends is declared the winner.

Baseball is a sport whose popularity has only grown with time, and this popularity has spread to numerous other countries around the world. With the advancement of technology and the increase in the availability of high-speed internet services, it is now possible to play the baseball game online on a mobile phone or tablet from the comfort of one’s own home, or wherever one might be with a reasonably stable internet connection.

However, if you wish to become truly exceptional at the physical version of baseball, you will need to be extremely agile. One of the ways to make significant improvements in your ability to play baseball is by practicing drills. Here are some of the recommended drills which, if you practice them, you will be able to become a masterful player of baseball.

Drills for Infielders

The most important skill that infielders need to master is their hand-eye coordination. For infielders, it is highly recommended to work on hand-eye coordination by reading ground balls. Infielders need to specially work on keeping their wrists bent and their fingers pointed towards the ground. By mastering this skill, players will be able to charge ground balls and field line drives on the short hop without difficulty. When it comes to short hops, it is recommended to start from the ground up.

Short Hop Drill

To perform the short hop drill, infielders begin on their knees without wearing gloves. The players need to align in pairs, positioning themselves across each other, staying roughly 10 feet apart. Partners will take turns in throwing firm short hops, performing eight repetitions of glove side, backhand and straight on, each. These need to be repeated two more times. Once standing steady without wearing gloves, and once in the ready position while wearing gloves.

Double Barrel Fielding Drill

On completion of the short hop drill, infielders are recommended to break into a double barrel infield. To do this, two coaches are required, and the players will have to field ground balls for a total of 15 minutes in a specified format consisting of three rounds.

Drills for Outfielders

For outfielders, it is imperative that players practice ball tracking during sprints. This is because outfielders need to build and develop athleticism and the judgment required to chase down fly balls that are hit into the gap as well as over their heads. They need to run on their toes in order to prevent their heads from bouncing up and down, as that would make tracking the flight of the ball difficult.

Triangle Drill with Tennis Balls

The triangle drill with tennis balls helps to teach crucial communication skills and pop-pup priorities in the outfield. This is a drill that will contribute to building confidence to go after balls that may be beyond a player’s comfort zone. This drill is especially helpful for younger players. To perform this drill, outfielders must be separated into three groups and positioned in the shape of cones on any side of the field.

Fly Ball Repetitions

Upon completion of the triangle drill, the fly ball drill entails having a mix of fly balls and ground balls thrown at the players. This will help them come through the ball to the best of their abilities. “Coming through the ball” refers to getting behind the ball and taking a good angle in order to be ready to crow hop and deliver a firm throw to the relay or base. Players should not keep their bodies stationary while catching the ball but should be moving forward in the direction of the throw. They should try to catch the ball roughly at eye level.

Drills for Catchers

Great catchers make a great baseball team. A catcher with a high baseball IQ will help the team tremendously. Not only will they keep the team grounded, but catchers who can frame pitches to steal strikes, block balls, and get runners out will help to save runs and win more matches.

Blocking Drills for Catchers

By keeping balls in the dirt in front of them, catchers are able to limit the baserunning ability of the opponent team. To perform this drill, catchers need to be in full gear. The drill entails setting up six balls roughly ten feet apart, and players will need to walk in a low squat position to get to each ball. As they get closer to a ball, they will have to drop to their knees as if they are blocking a pitch.

Receiving and Pitch Framing Drills for Catchers

Good framing can make or break a baseball game. The best catchers are the ones who can steal a strike at any time, so it is highly recommended that this skill is developed as early as possible. Receiving and pitch framing drills teach catchers how to let the ball travel as well as be able to stick it wherever it is thrown.

Drills for Pitchers

Pitchers are the players who have to be able to field their position. The following are some defensive drills for pitchers.

Pitchers’ Fielding Practice

This drill involves hitting ground balls alternating between the first baseman and the pitcher but with some players in between. The objective is to put the pitcher in a situation where he has to decide whether to cover the bag or field the ball.

Seven and Ones

‘Seven and ones’ is a drill that involves both pitchers as well as infielders. This drill should be done for approximately 10 minutes prior to having the entire team come together for the infield and outfield drills. In this drill, there are seven plays that take place. What this means is, that each ball will be hit soon after the previous play is completed.

Baseball is a highly thrilling sport, and given its similarity to cricket, it is a sport that is rapidly gaining popularity in India. By practicing the above baseball drills, players can become truly exceptional at the sport.

 

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