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.
Second basemen know they have to get the ball to the shortstop quickly. Where and how you receive the ball dictates which of these four releases you’ll want to utilize in order to get the ball to the shortstop as quickly and accurately as possible.
Thumb Up Flip Fielders need to push off their left leg, and then drive with the right in order to get momentum going in the opposite direction, away from first base. At that point, there are two choices when performing the flip: thumb up, or thumb down. We begin by teaching younger players the thumb up technique, which is an underhand flip that’s only slightly slower, but much easier to master. For both techniques, it is crucial your catchers keep their glove tucked away as they begin the release phase, in order to give the shortstop a clear view of the ball from start to finish. Follow your toss towards second base! This ensures that all that momentum coming off the left-right step is carried into the release.
Thumb Down Flip We utilize the thumb down flip when the fielder is a little further from second base, with a ball hit straight at him. The thumb down flip creates a straight line without requiring any movement of the feet, and produces higher accuracy and greater velocity than a toss.
The Toss The toss is performed when your fielder receives the ball too far from second base to perform the flip. With the right foot slightly behind the left, have your fielder pivot his hips and shoulders toward the target, staying low and balanced. Perform this action in one motion for a smooth transition. When the ball is hit to the left of the second baseman, utilize a jump hop to get the glove-side shoulder facing second base.
Jump Turn When a ball is hit a few steps to the left of the second baseman, neither the toss nor the flip will be of any use. In these instances, instruct your fielders to perform the jump-hop turn. Keeping his center of gravity low, your fielder replaces his feet, driving his right foot back and landing with his left foot forward, primed to throw.