Baseball Fielding Tips

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Baseball Fielding Tips- How To Improve as an Outfielder  


Learning to become a better fielding outfielder is a skill that can definitely be learned and improved upon.  Although great hitting gets most of the headlines, it is great fielding which separates the great players from the good ones.  Here, some tips to help you with your training in becoming a better fielder: 


Catching The Ball 

1.  Practice catching a pair of rolled up socks with a family member at your house.  The other person should make throws that make it very difficult for you to catch the pair of rolled up socks.  This can be done by increasing the speed, throwing it high or throwing it short.  Your goal is to adjust for all of these and try to catch them.  If you practice this game enough, you will notice your reflexes getting faster and faster and you will learn how to adjust your body quickly as well. 


2.  Practice shagging fly balls on a constant basis.  Nothing beats getting used to catching baseballs.  Your aim here should be to run on the balls of your feet so the ball does not appear to move in the air as you run towards it.  Always catch with two hands.  A dropped ball can occur because just a slight lapse of concentration.  Use both hands to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  


3.  Practice catching balls hit in the sun.  You need to get in the habit of catching baseball in the worst conditions and nothing is worse than in the sun.  One way to do this effectively is to practice moving slightly to the side of the sun’s rays and try to pick up the ball there.  This gives you a better chance of battling the sun’s rays and coming up with the catch. 


4.  Practice tracking down long fly balls.  The main rule of proper outfielding is to not let the ball get behind you.  This can sometimes occur when an outfielder misjudges the flight of a hard hit fly ball and/or the wind carries it over his head.  One way to combat this is to instead run to the wall or the warning track and then turn around and come back to the ball.  This strategy makes it harder for the ball to go over your head. 


Running & Coverage Drills 

1.  Consider taking speed lessons to improve your speed.  This will help you with your explosiveness and give you more confidence in your running as you know you are running the most efficient and quickest way. 


2.  Practice learning to dive and catch the ball.  This will teach you to adjust your body to hold onto the ball and lessen the impact on your body.  One of the most basic rules is try to avoid having your elbows hit the ground at an angle as this has a good chance of jarring the baseball loose.  One clever way to learn how to do this is have a partner or coach take out a bucket of balls and have them throw them to your left and right sides in such a way where you are required to jump to the right or left to catch the ball.  As you get good, he should start to throw the baseballs further and further away from your sides. 


3.  Learn how different pitches, locations, and the batter impact where the ball can go.  For example, if you have a right handed batter up who is being thrown a change-up to the outside, he is likely to hit this to right field towards the right field foul line.  A smarter outfielder will start off in a position that takes advantage of these likelihoods and a good outfielder will also train himself to read how the ball flies off the swing of the bat.  Practice in this area will allow you to get a jump on some line drives and make it easier for you to make plays in the outfield.  This skills takes some serious practice, but you will start notice its advantages fairly quickly.  This skill can be practiced even while shagging flies in batting practice. 


Recognize Game Conditions & Situations 

1.  Determine how night games effect your vision.  Recognize that bad lights are notorious at high school parks.  Know your stadium.  If this will be an issue, be sure you are wearing your eye black and have other teammates routinely point to where the ball is on a pop fly.  In this way, even if you momentarily miss the flight of the ball, you can sometimes find it with their help. 


2.  Determine how rainy conditions effect your running and tracking down fly balls.  Recognize that rainy conditions can cause you to slip.  For this reason take more circular routes towards flyballs and ground balls.  Also, try to take shorter steps as this will make it less likely you will slip and fall. 


3.  Adjust your fielding style to the specific game.  If your team has a big lead, there is no reason to risk diving for a flyball or letting a ball go between your legs.  For this reason, play these hits conservatively.  Go down on one knee for grounders and play flyballs off the hop if you know you will be forced to dive for the ball.  A single or double won’t hurt you so lay up and keep the ball in front of you.  If you take a risk and fail to stop the ball, this could result in an extra base hit that starts a rally. 


By applying these tips and practicing your fielding daily, you will soon see your fielding improve as you are able to make less errors and get to more baseballs that you could not get to in the past.  Remember a great defensive play is always appreciated by the coach and the other players. 


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