Hideki Matsui catching a fly ball during the Yankees game. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is such a difficult
game to play. It is a game of failures where if you succeed 3 out of 10 times you can earn millions of dollars! That is one of the hardest things to teach young players. That they have to let the game come to them, they cannot force it. In fact, the more they do force it, the worse they get!
I see this most often when learning to catch fly balls and learning to hit. They lunge forward trying to hit the ball before it gets to them. What they really need to do is sit back and let the ball get deep into their driving zone. The other thing they do, and this is mainly the younger players, is immediately run forward on a fly ball, every time the ball drops behind them.
To counteract overrunning the fly ball, have the player take one step back immediately at contact. It is much easier to get a feel for where it is going to land and the player can come forward much faster than they move backwards. Every time the ball lands behind a player I say, “where was your first step?” they answer, “forward.” I say, “where did the ball land?” they answer, “Behind me.” After about the millionth time they almost get it.
So make sure you are always preaching to your players to sit back and let the game come to them. Success in this sport takes time, patience, and persistence. Character traits anyone would love to develop.
One of my most favorite plays is the "fire play". It is simple, and most teams use some variation of it, but calling and utilizing it as the "fire play" makes it simple to communicate w/ the players involved immediately.
What is the "fire play"? Very simply it is when the
right fielder throws to first to retire the batter . The ole’ 9-3 out so rare but so exciting. Why do we call it the "fire play"? Because as the right fielder is approaching the ball, we can yell "fire, fire, fire, fire!" and then he can focus on fielding the ball. He doesn’t have to look up and make a decision thereby giving the runner an extra step.
The fire play is almost always close, so it is important to take every last inch away from the batter. Yelling to the fielder helps, having a
first baseman w/ a good stretch helps also. Catcher Backs Up
catcher HAS to back up the fire play. He should run down the line and get in behind the first baseman in line w/ the throw. Quite often you will get a cheap out at second because the runners instinct is to immediately take off for second.
Do you have any cool plays you use? Let us know!
Right Field is a specialty
position . We all know that in Little League the strongest players play in the infield. This doesn’t mean that outfielders are not important! Quite the contrary, picking up outs in the outfield is a huge bonus. The right fielder can be your weakest fielder but they need a strong arm and a will to back up first base on almost every play.
The right fielder need not be quick, but it is a bonus if the are. They will need to be able to track
fly balls but the least of them are hit to them. They have to have the strongest arm because they often throw to first base and need to be able to fire to third base also.
Here are some characteristics of a good
left fielder :
Committed to back up
Able to track fly balls
A right fielder that makes every routine play as well as some spectacular ones can get a good
pitcher some very key outs.
Can you think of any other valuable characteristics a right fielder should have? Please share them.
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