We can’t just expect our infielders to know where to throw the ball when the ball is hit to them. Those decisions must be practiced, just like any other skill.
Take the mystery out of where your infielders should throw the ball with this simple drill to help with decision making, and watch your players start getting more outs!
Our players have to make a decision every time they field the ball -should they throw to 2nd base to get the runner, or should let the runner go, and throw to 1st. Those decisions must be practiced, just like the skills of fielding and throwing. We’re pretty good at helping our players practice the physical skills involved with playing softball, but the decision making skills are trickier to practice.
So here’s a great way to help your players understand when they should throw to 2nd base to get the lead runner out, and when they should ignore that lead runner and simply get the out at 1st.
Set up your infield with a player at each position and the extra infielders and pitchers and catchers off to the side. The outfielders will act as runners (R) in this drill – one will be on 1st base with the others off to the side of 1st. All runners have their helmets on.
A coach will be at home with a bat and some balls.
Here’s how this drill, and this entire concept of numbering your groundballs works:
- The drill is based on infielders learning to quickly identify the 3 types of groundballs:
- #1 – is a Slow Roller (a slow rolling hit, bunt, or slap)
- #2 – is a Regular Hit Groundball
- #3 – is a Hard hit or Shot Groundball
- Based on the type of groundball hit, here are the throwing rules if a runner is on 1st base when the groundball is hit:
- #1 Groundball (slow) – no chance for a force at 2nd base, no chance for a doubleplay, and will be tough to get a lefty slapper out at 1st. So throw goes to 1st unless no throw on a lefty slapper.
- #2 Groundball (regular) – can probably get a force at 2nd, can probably get a double play (unless a lefty slapper hit the ball), and can probably get the batter at 1st (even a lefty slapper).
- #3 Groundball (hard hit) – can get the force at 2nd, can probably get a double play, can probably get the slapper at 1st.
First, simply hit some different type of groundballs to your infielders:
- Have them ALL yell out the # of it as it’s hit. NO throws during this round, simply toss the ball back to the catcher and repeat.
- After 3 -4 rounds without any throws, put a runner at first and BEFORE the coach hits a ball, ask the players – based on the speed of the runner – what # grounder would give them a chance to get the force at 2nd.
- Then hit the ball and have your infielders throw based on the type of grounder hit.
Keep in mind anytime a fielder bobbles a ball – it means the only play is at 1st, if any play at all!
For more help with your fielders, check out the following: