Essentially, this is the How-To of catching a fly ball. Run as a drill during Station Instruction, Fundamentals: Fly Balls is an introduction into outfield footwork. Start slowly, emphasizing a clean, 3-step process. Next, accelearate the drill and add difficulty appropriate to the athletes’ ages. Going forward, use these fundamentals throughout the season whenever working fly balls.
EXECUTION – There are three steps to catching a fly ball. While many young athletes struggle to do these correctly, many athletes DO execute these three steps as they should… but they dont know what they are doing! Therefore, run this drill every season and keep it short if needbe. Quickly get to more challenging fly balls but all the while teaching and enforcing fly ball footwork technique:
- Drop step ( & Read ) – On contact, the appropriate foot steps back (in the direction of the ball) and athlete reads ball flight. In = go get the ball… Back = execute footwork.
- Crossover – Opposite foot crosses over to quickly get on a path to the baseball.
- Go! – Get that ball!
Teach and review this footwork, then enforce it anytime fly balls are drilled. Look for and demand of your athletes: Dropstep, crossover, go. Quickly, the “Dropstep” becomes “Dropstep & Read,” as athletes are to be taught to immediately react with the first step back (in the direction of the ball)… and using that split second to decide how best to make a play on the ball.
- Slow and Deliberate – Use broken movements early. Many times those that do this correctly, dont know what they actually do.
- 2 hands vs. 1 hand – Routine Fly Balls = 2 hands. On the run or moving = 1 hand is okay
- Run on “balls” of feet – Avoid “bouncing baseball”
- First Step Back – Solid rule for OF play to avoid ball over athletes head
- DROP STEP
- SLOW & DELIBERATE
- 2-HANDS vs 1-HAND
- RUN "SOFT" ON BALLS OF FEET
- FIRST STEP BACK
- Baseball Buckets1