Side-to-Side Bucket Fly Balls is an outfield drill with multiple benefits. Athletes get fly ball repetitions… they do so on the run… and, they practice many of these fly balls using outfielder-communication skills.
EXECUTION – Set up involves two sets of cones with some open space in between. Place an empty bucket at both sets of cones. Athletes will move from side to side, catching a fly ball on their way, and deposit the baseball into the bucket on the other side. Baseballs can be thrown or hit – even a racquet and tennis balls can be used.
With five minutes remaining, add communication. Divide the athletes into two groups and assign each group to one side. One athlete from each groups steps into the center for each fly ball. The athletes communicate to call for the baseball, and then switch sides to get back into line.
If time permits, finish with “great plays.” Robbing home runs, diving plays, whatever your bat skills allow for! Here’s a quick overview including times:
- Discussion (3 mins) – Provide a drill overview and a quick description of running with “soft feet.”
- Side-to-Side Reps (7 mins) – Appropriate fly balls, quickly and efficiently.
- Communication Reps (3 mins) – Two athletes for each fly ball. Switch sides after each rep.
- Great Plays (2 mins) – Once or twice through the line IF reps and communication flyballs went well.
- Bat Control – Do you have it? Do whatever it takes to get consistent fly balls. Hitting accurate flies with a bat and ball is TOUGH! If you need to throw them, do it. Here you have to balance challenging the athletes with wasting eveyrone’s time. Find a way to get it done coach!
- Communication is Boring – It’s time well spent to work on communication. However, only one player can catch the ball… so it quickly becomes boring. Involve communication flies at the end of the drill, and do so for only three to five minutes.
- “Take it, take it” – More communication is better than less. Encourage the athlete NOT catching the ball to also communicate and use the phrase, “take it, take it!” Create a culture of helping one another. Make it cool to communicate and help out up your teammate.
- “Balls” of the Feet – Running with heavy feet can lead to a bouncing head. The result of a bouncing head is a bouncing baseball (visually). A bouncing baseball is much more difficult to catch and often leads to drops. Teach athletes to bend their knees slightly and run with soft feet.
- SIDE-TO-SIDE REPS
- COMMUNICATION REPS
- GREAT PLAYS
- BAT CONTROL
- COMMUNICATION IS BORING
- “TAKE IT, TAKE IT”
- BALLS OF THE FEET