Maximizing Practice for Infielders: 2 Fungo Drill with Cardio Conditioning

This drill has three purposes:

  1. Get as many ground balls as possible in a 15 minute span
  2. Incorporate a cardio conditioning aspect by running the balls to the bucket after successfully fielding it
  3. Be a low arm intensity drill (great for mid-season)

 Equipment and personnel needed:

  • 2 coaches with fungoes or regular bats
  • Line of players at each infield position
  • 4 buckets (1 with each coach (2), 2 placed on opposite sides of mound or circle)
  • minimum of 50 balls (25 on each side)

Drill Process:

  1. Coach #1, standing on the 3rd base side in foul territory, hits a ground ball to a player in the line of 2nd basemen.  That player fields the ball, runs to the bucket on the 1st base side of the mound, drops the ball in the bucket, and then sprints to the end of the line. Without hesitation, Coach #1 hits another ball to a player in the line of 1st basemen.
  2. Coach #2 does the same as Coach #1 except he hits to the lines at 3rd base and shortstop.  The only difference is that those players will drop the balls in the bucket on the 3rd base side of the mound.
  3. It is important for the coaches to call, “Last ball!!!” when he/she hits the last one in the bucket. That signals the player that fields it to switch buckets. The bucket nearest the mound should now be full. It needs to be carried to the coach. The empty bucket nearest the coach should be taken back to the area near the mound.  The whole process starts over again.

Hints:

  • I recommend keeping each line to three or four players at the most.  Any more than that and the players aren’t moving enough to get their heart rates up.
  • Be careful that you don’t hit the players that are carrying in buckets.
  • Mix up positioning of the coaches. On occasion place one coach at home plate hitting to the corners and the other coach just in front the rubber in order to hit to the middle infielders. This allows the middle infielders to work on double play flips after fielding ground balls (the receiver of the flip runs the ball to the bucket).  It will also allow the corner infielders to work in fielding bunts.
  • Make it a game. Each coach starts with the same amount of balls in his/her bucket.  A missed ball stays in the outfield.  After 15 minutes the side of the infield with the most balls left in their bucket wins.
  • Have players alternate lines in order to experince new positions.
  • Add 10 pushups for those that miss a ground ball.

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Base Running Drill: Runner at Second Base “Decision Drill”

runner at 2nd drill

This drill was developed due to a fatal mistake that I had made.  The mistake was using the most ridiculous 6 word sentence that any coach in any sport  ever uses, which is, “THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT BY NOW!”  Never assume that your players know the right things to do, especially in situational aspects of the game.  Just because you might be a good teacher of the game doesn’t mean that any other coach that your players have had are good teachers. What I was running into was, that when runners were on second base with less than 2 outs they were getting greedy on ground balls hit to 3rd base and shortstop.  They would wait for the infielder to throw the ball and then attempt to take third base.  Or, they would increase their secondary lead so much that they were too far from 2nd base. Some of you are reading this and are thinking, that’s what  they should do.  I will admit that in little league and against some of your poorer junior high and high school competition, that getting to 3rd base in this situation is very easy, but I don’t think that is the correct way to prepare young baseball and softball players for real competitive situations.  In reality, a good team will look the runner back, fake a throw to first and pick the runner off at 2nd base, or throw over to 1st base and the 1st baseman will throw the runner out at third. I just don’t think that kids are consistently given a set of rules for how to react when they are a runner at 2nd base with less than 2 outs.

Needed for this drill:

  • 1st baseman, 2nd baseman, SS, & third baseman
  • Line of base runnersin short CF. Don’t be afraid to have 2 base runners go during each repetition. Have one runner stand deeper than the other runner. This is a good way to increase reps.
  • Coach and catch-in person at home plate

Here are the rules for the base runners that they are given before we run this drill:

  1. Ball hit in front of you (3rd base side of the runner) take two steps back towards 2nd base.  Find 2nd baseman in order make sure the throw from 3rd or SS isn’t coming to 2nd base. Basically, it a no go.
  2. Ball hit at you, break for 3rd base.
  3. Ball hit behind you (2nd base side of the runner), break for 3rd base.
  4. Make sure line drives get through. There is nothing worse than losing a runner at 2nd base on a line drive to SS, especially to end and inning. What a momentum killer!

Benefits of the drill:

  • Runners get realistic look at an awkward baseball situation
  • Emphasizes the important of being in scoring position and how not to lose it
  • Infielders get to simulate a real situation too. 3b and SS get work looking runners back. 2b gets to react back to the base. All of them get fielding practice.
  • As a coach, you can have a runner make a mistake on purpose.  This will lead into more coaching points. For example, have a runner get off to far and get in a rundown.  Rundowns can never be practiced enough.
  • Players are forced to think!!! And they are given the tools to make it easier.

If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to comment. Your thoughts are welcome!!!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably enjoy the following:

https://coach5150.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/baseball-softball-fielding-drill-fungo-baseballsoftball/

https://coach5150.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/baseball-softball-fielding-drill-the-bucket-game/

https://coach5150.wordpress.com/2009/06/07/throwing-progression-for-accuracy-arm-strength-playing-catch-the-right-way/