Baseball Magazine

The Best Infield Drill I’ve Never Done

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

One of the great things about attending/speaking at coaching clinics is you get to talk to and hear other coaches.  Just when you think you’ve seen everything, a coach will give a tip, a phrase, a technique, or in this case a drill you have never seen before.  

Recently I did a post called Reading hops as an infielder.  In terms of views, it has been one of my more popular posts in the last few months.  For infielders, one of the most important skill is being able to slow up or quicken up their footwork to ensure they get the ball  on the proper part of the hop.  Doing so will help prevent the infielder from being at the mercy of bad hops.

The problem with this skill is that it is tough to practice other than just getting ground ball after ground ball and making the adjustments as necessary.  Complicating matters is the fact that many players are still indoors and don’t have to worry about bad hops on a gym or turf floor.  So how can you get kids to practice making these adjustments?  Well, here’s a drill that can help.

It was called the “Rhythm Drill” by the head coach of Temple University, Ryan Wheeler.  I think I’ll call it the “Reading the hop Drill.”  Here is how the drill works:

In a gym or on a turf field, a coach uses a ball that is able to bounce fairly well.  Before bouncing the ball to the fielder, the coach says something like “3 and a short hop.”  That means that the fielder must catch the ball on the short hop after three full bounces.  In this case, the player actually catches the ball just after the 4th hop.  If a coach said “2 and a big hop,” the fielder will time his approach and footwork so that he catches the ground ball on the big hop after the 2nd bounce.  The coach just changes the number of hops and whether he wants the fielder to catch on the short hop or the big hop.

It is a drill I’ve never done but I can fully guarantee that this drill is now towards the top of my infield drill list!

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