Tag Plays is an infield drill for athletes learning how to receive a throw and apply a tag. Dugout Captain recommends programming this drill into your practice plans when put-outs are becoming a realistic priority. For the most effective learning experience, run during Station Instruction at a first practice… and follow by offering during Quick Defense at a second practice. This philosophy is followed in DC Practice Plan templates for Catcher Receiving, Sliding Fundamentals, etc.
More difficult to think the game, a player MUST be able to play the game. This is the easy part. 😉
DISCUSSION – Start this drill with each athlete at an individual cone for discussion. First, explain and show the proper execution of a slap tag: straddle, slap tag, show. Involve a brief explanation of the mental side of this play – WHEN a tag play is utilized.
REPETITION – Athletes line up behind a single cone. Place a throw-down base 10-feet away from the cone. And a second cone, positioned 10-feet on the opposite side of the base. On a verbal, first athlete sprints to the bag and prepares to receive a throw:
- Straddle – Position feet so that they are on either side of the base.
- Slap Tag – Catch the baseball and move from athlete’s left to right along the ground (in front of the base).
- Show – “Sell” the putout but showing the glove to the umpire (ball is in glove).
- Why Straddle? – Ensure a sliding athlete goes between your legs rather than into a foot or shin – ouch.
- Tag Front of Based – Must tag the sliding runner before he reaches the base. Therefore, tag can’t be on top of the base.
- Teach, then Reinforce – Drill Tag Plays during Drills / Station Instruction first. Then, offer Tag Plays during Quick Defense at the next practice.
CLOSING – Use the power of live Baseball (TV or in person). Challenge your athletes to watch a ballgame and see the Tag Play in action.
- MOVE FROM CONE TO CONE
- SWIPE / SLAP TAG
- TEACH - WHY STRADDLE?
- MOVE YOUR FEEDS
- TEACH THEN REINFORCE
- TAG IN FRONT OF BASE
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