Baseball Magazine

Two Fungo Drills You May Not Have Done

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Using a fungo bat is synonymous with coaching baseball.  With the amount of ground balls and fly balls I hit during the course of a normal season, I'd be lost without mine.  Below are two drills that you may not have thought of that involve the use of a fungo bat.
Note:  Both of these drills require the user to be pretty skilled in handling a fungo bat.  Consistently being able to hit balls straight ahead is key for these two drills to be effective.  Hitting a fungo is a learned skill so if you need work, get out there and practice!  It's well worth it!
Scoops at first.  This drills involves having a coach stand in relation to where the fielders will be throwing the ball to first base.  Let's use third base as an example.  In this version of the drill, the fungo hitter stands in the infield grass about 40-50 feet away from first base and in line with a typical throw from the third baseman.  The first baseman sets his feet as he would before the throw.  The fungo hitter hits a hard ground ball or line drive at the first baseman.  The first baseman reacts to the batted ball as if it was a throw in a game by catching it and/or attempting to scoop or block the throw.  The coach could then move around the infield to give the first baseman work on every angle.  The coach should also make it a point to stand at second base and hit balls to the first baseman in order to represent a throw in the dirt on a double play.

Two fungo drills you may not have done

A fungo can work very well when practicing
this catch and tag play at home plate.

Plays at the plate.  This drill involves the same concept as the one explained above but applies to catchers on plays at the plate.  On such plays during the course of an actual game, the catcher must be prepared to catch any type of throw coming at him and apply the tag.  Short hops, in-between hops, balls thrown left and right of the plate, and balls thrown high all have to be practiced.  To do this, the coach stands in various parts of the infield - about as far back as where the infielders would be if they were playing in on the grass - and hits hard ground balls and line-drives at the plate.  The catcher reacts like he would in a real game and tries to catch and make a tag properly.  IMPORTANT:  All catchers MUST wear full equipment in this drill including their mask for obvious safety reasons.
Of course, there are other variations to this type of fungo drill.  Balls can be hit at the second base bag so the middle infielders can work on poorly thrown balls by the catcher on steal attempts.  This can also be done for third baseman on steal throws to third as well as pick-off throws to first base from the catcher.  
Use your imagination and think of some more!

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