One of our principal concerns is protecting young arms from injury. A lot of infielders fail to use their lower bodies when throwing to first base, and instead field the ball, funnel, stand straight up and throw with just their arms. This drill aims to get kids to use their legs as a primary source of power by forcing them to follow through in the direction of their throw.
To set up, place a bucket filled with balls 5-10 yards between the fielder and the throwing target. A coach stands off to the side, and rolls a groundball to the fielder. After the player throws to the target, he has to go retrieve a ball out of the bucket, and give it back to the coach. The goal is to make that first step to the bucket one continuous motion, syncing it up with the throw.
Once your players get comfortable with the bucket drill, you can add a pop-up for additional complexity. After the fielder makes his throw, instead of simply running to the bucket, have a coach throw a pop-up in the fielder’s path, forcing him to follow through and shift his attention. We’ve found that with enough practice, our players don’t even have to look at their throws arriving at the target, giving them confidence that a throw can be accurately executed with proper footwork and throwing technique.
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.