Nick Aboussie is a former college player, All-Star Performance Instructor, and member of the coaching staff of the St. Louis Gamers. Additional educational resources for players, coaches and parents are available at gamersacademy.net.
Outfielding drill series part 1
The best outfielders seem to be everywhere at all times. How do they do it? It all comes down to body position and footwork. These drills train your outfielders to think and move like sprinters, closing down big distances in less time, and transition from receiving to throwing the ball as efficiently as possible.
Drop Step Line Drill
This drill is designed to ensure that your fielder’s first step is as quick and efficient as possible, focusing on the placement of the drop foot to prepare said fielder to immediately begin moving in the direction where the ball will be received. Remember to open up the feet and hips, and get the shoulders pointed as a sprinter would rather than running sideways, which ruins balance.
Angle Drop Step Drill
One thing we like to really hammer home in the angle variation on the drop step drill, is that when running towards the projected catch-point of a fly ball, your fielders should take a steeper angle of approach, ensuring that the ball remains in front of them, and allowing them to prepare to shift their momentum forward with a throw—critical in situations when you have a runner tagging up.
Ground Ball with Crow Hop Drill
The crow hop allows fielders to quickly shift into a power position, and get momentum going towards their target. Schooling your players on how to integrate this critical movement with proper glove technique for receiving ground balls will result in a marked improvement in fielding effectiveness. Perhaps the most important component to nailing the crow hop: keep the glove hand foot in front of the throwing hand foot, as the glove hand foot is the foot you want to leap off of. Every time your outfielders go to attack a ball, make sure that glove hand foot is out in front! Final note: that glove needs to be at a 45 degree angle.
Fly Ball with Crow Hop Drill
The main difference here is the glove hand technique: we instruct fielders to keep their fingers up, and catch the ball in an area between the forehead, nose and chin over to his throwing shoulder. We call this the transfer window, which allows for a nice, long arm swing.