Baseball Magazine

Off Side Errors

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

As a coach, defense was always my main priority.  I certainly believed in the maxim, “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”  Every year I would remind my players that being good on defense is not about making Web Gems.  It’s all about making the routine play.  When the other team hands you an out, you have to take it.  

Like every other facet of the game, fielding involves both a mental side and a physical one.  To be a good fielder

Sometimes the fielder just wasn't fully expecting it.

Sometimes the fielder just wasn’t fully expecting it.

you need to master both.  Today I’ll focus on something related to the mental side.  Tomorrow will be the physical.

Most players at an early age are taught to say “The ball is coming to me” before every pitch.  In fact, my father practically burned the phrase on my brain with the sheer amount of times he reminded me of that growing up.  But saying it before every pitch doesn’t mean they actually believe it.  Failing to believe the ball will be hit to you often results in errors.  Especially off-side errors.

An off-side error is one that a fielder makes on a non-pulled ball.  When a second baseman makes an error on a ball hit by a right-handed hitter, that’s an off-side error.  The batter hit it to his non-pull side.  The same is true on an error made by the shortstop or third baseman coming off the bat of a left-handed hitter.

Simply put, off-side errors occur when the fielder assumes the batter will pull the ball and therefore not hit it to them.  When the ball ends up being hit to them, they are somewhat surprised and not ready for it.  Add one to the error column.

If a pretty solid infielder dumbfounds you with an occasional uncharacteristic error, you may want to start paying attention to who is hitting the ball.  If those errors are coming off the bat of off-side hitters, the cause is probably more mental than physical.

For players and coaches alike, making sure your off-side fielders are ready and focused is a big part of a good defensive team.

Tomorrow’s post: I field with my feet


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