How to Coach – The Crow Hop is a multi-step drill to introduce and teach outfielder fundamentals when fielding a ground ball. The Crow Hop should should first be taught as a fundamental movement. Meaning, run this as a drill first. Then, after all athletes have been responsibly coached proper crow hop fundamentals, apply these fundamentals during other drills or general outfield play.
EXECUTION / GROUP – Group starts at individual cones for a discussion first of how to field a ground ball as an outfielder. Explain the purpose of the Crow Hop: (1) Use and control the energy of a charging outfielder, and (2) Line up the body for an accurate throw. Next, walk through the physical steps of this action. Use keywords: “ Field / Step / Step / Crow Hop” as a memorable way to retain the steps.
- Field – Glove outside of foot (same side foot).
- Step / Step – Take a couple extra steps to give athletes time to think and prepare back foot to execute crow hop.
- Crow Hop – Back foot (throwing foot) “up and over” the front foot as the hips and shoulders turn to throw (footwork is right-left-throw).
EXECUTION / REPS – Move the athletes to a set of three cones for live repetitions. Place one cone where the line will form and a pair of cones in front for the ‘live’ athlete to step in between and start the action. There will be several steps to execution as the athletes grow comfortable with both the movements of the play as well as the execution of the crow hop.
- Ball in Glove / Broken Movements – Start with a ball in the glove and use broken movements to practice the various steps. Use coaching keywords (Field / Step / Step / Crow Hop) to guide athlete movements.
- Ball in Glove / Walking… Jogging – When ready, move to no-stopping and gradually increase pace. Once all athletes can execute with ball in hand…
- Rolling Ground Ball – Roll ground balls at a pace that will allow the athletes to focus on footwork and Crow Hop execution. Fly balls or rockets off the bat WILL affect the athletes ability to focus on footwork.
- Compete! – Use points for accurate throws as a way to have fun and work through execution several times.
- Outside Glove Foot – Teach that outfielders field ground balls “outside their glove-side foot”.
- Focus on the Feet – The upper body will take care of itself. Focus, grind, and force the athlete to get the footwork correct before speeding up.
- Broken Movements – Combined with keywords, broken movements will ensure that each athlete grows comfortable with the four movements (field / step / step / crow hop… and fire!).
- Exaggerate the Hop – “Up and over the back foot!” Especially early, don’t be afraid to exaggerate the jump. Use a barrier if available for the back foot to move over.
**NOTE – This material can be combined or reinforced with any outfield drill that involves throws. Consider Outfield Approach or the Walking Soldier Drill.
- FIELD BALL OUTSIDE GLOVE-SIDE FOOT
- TAKE TWO EXTRA STEPS
- HOP FROM BACK TO FRONT FOR PLANT / THROW
- OUTSIDE GLOVE FOOT
- FOCUS ON THE FEET
- BROKEN MOVEMENTS
- EXAGGERATE THE HOP
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