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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Baseball Drills





Basic Baseball Drills


 

Baseball is one of the most popular American sports that allow players to grow with practice. Unlike in some other sports, a baseball player need not possess inherent skill to make it in the big leagues. Instead, loads of hard work coupled with dedication and determination can make a player perform much better than his opponents. A good number of skills are required to become an expert ballplayer. While speed may have no substitute, speed alone is not going to make a quality ballplayer.
 
“Practice makes perfect.” It is essential for a player to concentrate during practice sessions in order to enhance his skills. Ethics are also fundamental during practice. Discipline must be maintained on the training field and players must work in agreement with their coaches so as to get better at the game. Coaching plays a crucial role in determining how far a player’s baseball career can go. Here are some basic drills that can help improve your game.
 
Base Running Drills
 
The ‘No Defense’ drill for base running exposes players to various base running situations. The drill is also good for conditioning the physicality of players. You will require helmets, baseballs and a bat for this drill. Runners must start on the 1st and the 2nd base while one player starts in the batter’s box. All the other runners must assemble lineally behind home. A coach must be placed at 3rd base and another must stand just outside home with baseballs and a bat.
 
To execute the drill, the coach has to hit the baseball in all directions of the field, one at a time. Even ground balls must be considered for base hits while fly balls must also be regarded as singles. The hitter must run through 1st base if it is a ground ball. If a ball is hit to the outfield, he must round the base. In either case, he remains at 1st base. The runner starting at 1st base will have to run into 2nd when a ground ball is hit infield. Likewise, the runner at 2nd must run to the 3rd when ground hits are made. The coach at 3rd base may instruct runners to either remain at the base, or to proceed to the next.
 
The runner at 2nd base will have to round the 3rd if the ball is hit aerially. He will also have to consult the coach at 3rd base, to ascertain whether or not he will score. Runs must be scored on every single ball except for the ones that are hit right back to the pitcher. The aim of the drill is to keep the players’ move on after quickly analyzing the situation at hand.
 
Another excellent base running drill is the relay race. It helps players improve their turns when attempting to cover extra bases. The only equipment you will require includes two baseballs. The whole squad must be split into two equal teams. One team must be at home while the other is at 2nd base. The first player must start running around the bases with the ball in hand. Once he completes a round, the ball must be handed to the next individual and the process continues until all players have covered all four bases. You may make the drill more difficult by using different balls other than the baseballs.    
 
Throwing Drills
 
Throwing drills help players to throw the ball effectively while fielding. The ‘Wrist/Elbow’ drill is one of the most common ones on baseball training grounds. It helps players use their elbows and wrists with emphasis on the right grip to be had on the ball. You will need baseballs to start the drill. Players must be paired up, wear gloves and share a baseball between the two of them.  
 
The execution of this drill is fairly simple. Players will have to get down on one knee and remain in the same position about six feet away from the other players. Each player should place his glove on the field, right in front of him. The players must be shown how to grip the four seams of the baseball. He who has the ball must get the right grip, and bend his elbow while using the other hand to hold the forearm. The wrist must then be bent backwards before the ball is flicked to the other player. In this drill, the only part of the hand used to throw the baseball is the player’s wrist. Hitting the glove lying in front of a player is the aim for his partner. Gradually increase the distance between the players and have them throw using their wrist and elbows.    
 
The ‘One Knee’ drill for throwing helps develop the throwing mechanics of a player’s upper body. Baseballs will be needed to get the drill underway, and players must pair up with a baseball and gloves. To execute the drill, players will have to get down on the knee which is on the same side as their throwing arm. The distance between two players of a pair must be around 15 feet. The player who has the ball must rotate his shoulder in the direction of the target. Proper circular motions must be used repetitively to throw the baseball.
 
Follow through and proper body lining is essential to throw a ball accurately. The ‘Stationary’ drill for throwing teaches players how to catch a ball and throw it in a manner such that the target is perpendicular to his hind foot. The player’s body must be lined up towards the direction in which the ball is going to be thrown. This drill emphasizes on the placement of players’ back feet while throwing the ball. The hip and shoulders of a player will point towards the target when using this method to throw. Follow throughs are trained by teaching the player how to move their throwing hand towards the knee of his front leg after releasing the ball.  
 


Fielding Drills


 
Proper training in fielding can add to the value of a ballplayer. While pitching and hitting are the most important aspects of baseball, one cannot doubt the prominence of fielding. Players can make the most of important Infield and Outfield drills to enhance their fielding skills in a ballpark.
 


Infield Drills


 
Covering 1st base for the 1st baseman is an important skill in baseball. It helps the 1st baseman in assuming the proper footwork needed to receive a throw. It also helps him cover 1st base to a great effect. The coach must stand between the 1st and 2nd base while the 1st baseman must be in position to receive the ball. The players must be assembled in a line and must run to the 1st base and get ready to receive the ball. The coach will throw the ball in alternating directions so as to enhance the footwork of the players. The players must catch the ball and throw it to the coach before getting back in line. The coach will have to move around in order to simulate the throws that come from different positions.
 
Baseball players usually use one hand to catch the ball when they’re at 2nd base, ready to receive a throw. Play slows down because players take extra time to shift the ball from the catching hand to the one used to throw. The ‘Bare Hand Double Plays’ drill will aid players in adapting to the use of both hands, thereby increasing productivity on the ballpark. To execute this drill, you will have to place shortstops and two 2nd basemen without gloves near 2nd base. The coach must roll balls on the ground in the infielders’ direction from near the 2nd base. Players will learn how to better field in ground-ball situations and also use both hands to make accurate underhand throws to other players. They will also learn how to turn double plays and speed up the tempo of the game. The player who receives the throw must work on grasping the ball with his right and left hand before completing the double play by throwing the ball to the 1st base.    
 
Outfield Drills


 
The ‘Inside Turn’ drill helps outfielders perform drop steps while adjusting to the trajectory of a ball that is hit above their heads. Outfielders must line up, and the first one must stand about ten feet away from the coach. The coach will have to point in opposite directions, signaling the player to take drop steps in that particular direction before continuing the process. Once the player takes a few steps, the coach must point towards the other side and the player must take inside steps while changing directions. His eyes must be on the coach at all times. Once the player moves to, fro and back to a position, the ball must be thrown high towards the direction he is heading in. The player must catch the ball and throw it back to the coach. This drill promises to deliver better adjustment on the field, helping players increase their effectiveness in dealing with fly balls.
 


It is very important for outfielders to get their angles right in order to enhance their fielding skills. To start this drill, you will have to assemble a line of outfielders, and the first one must stand about fifty feet away from the coach. The coach will have to throw ground balls as well as fly balls to simulate various game situations. The coach must control the direction in which the ball travels and the players must train on getting the right angle so as to ensure that there are no errors when fielding. Players will have to get behind the ball if their position to make proper throws is to improve.


 


It must be noted that all of the aforementioned drills are just the basics to get started with effective baseball practice. As you get better at the various skills, you will have to increase their intensity of the drills, so as to further improve your game. If you’re looking at baseball as a career option, the training levels and intensity of the drills will grow to that of a much higher order. However, these basic drills can help you adapt to the different conditions in baseball and gradually help enhance your ability as a ballplayer.


 


Proper training is essential if you’re looking to make it big as a ballplayer. It is important to enhance your skills in all aspects of the game as it will guide you to excellent all-round performances on the ball park. Repetitive execution of these drills will certainly help you lay the groundwork for an exciting future. 

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