As a fielder, your first step is everything. The quicker you get to the ball, the more time you have to focus on careful glove work, proper funneling, and an accurate throw. These two drills are designed to develop the strength necessary to master this crucial component of a fielder's game.
To set up this drill, use five dots or markers laid out as targets for the infielder. Behind those markers, set up a cone that the fielder must go around when attacking the ball. This drill develops a fielder’s first step, glove work, transfer, and footwork after fielding it. You can turn this into both a throwing drill and conditioning drill; with older guys we go up to as many as five balls per dot.
Lateral Infield Drill
This drill really focuses on the explosiveness, and lateral quickness of a fielder’s first step. To set up, place five dots or markers in a line, and have the player stand behind the middle dot. The coach stands ten feet away, and starting with the dot directly to the player’s left, throws three groundballs. The player pivots, retrieves the ball, funnels, and tosses back to the coach, returning to the starting point. Repeat three times for each dot, but no more than five, as this drill is very taxing on the legs.
Nick Beckmann is a high school coach, All-Star fielding & hitting instructor, and former college player. Additional educational resources for players, coaches and parents are available at Gamer's Academy.