Purpose:

This drill aims to develop players’ ability to track and catch fly balls hit over their heads, enhancing their outfielding skills.

Setup:

A player positions themselves either in the infield or outfield. The coach stands in front of them with a ball, ready to simulate a fly ball hit over the player’s head.

Instructions:

  1. The coach throws a fly ball over the player’s head, prompting the player to backtrack and make the catch while tracking the ball’s trajectory.

Coaching Tips:

The key in this drill is for the player to choose the proper line to follow when going back on the ball. Many players don’t choose a line and they end up “crossing the line of the ball.” This causes them to lose equilibrium and miss the catch. Players need to pick one side of the ball (forehand or backhand) and stick with it through the catch.

For Younger Athletes:

  • Teach proper footwork: Younger players should focus on taking efficient and controlled steps backward as they track the ball, keeping their feet moving to adjust to the ball’s trajectory.
  • Emphasize communication: Encourage younger athletes to call out loudly when tracking the ball to avoid collisions with teammates. Simple phrases like “I got it!” can help establish clear communication on the field.
  • Practice body positioning: Help younger players understand the importance of keeping their body square to the ball as they track it over their shoulder, maintaining balance and stability to make a successful catch.

For Older Athletes:

  • Develop depth perception: Challenge older players to improve their ability to judge the depth of fly balls by practicing tracking balls hit at various distances and heights, helping them anticipate the ball’s landing spot more accurately.
  • Refine timing and judgment: Older athletes should work on timing their jump or reaching out at the right moment to make the catch, avoiding premature jumps or misjudgments that could result in missed opportunities.
  • Enhance glove positioning: Encourage older players to position their glove correctly based on the trajectory of the ball, ensuring they have the best chance of making a successful catch by extending their arm fully and keeping their glove open and facing the ball.