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Monday, September 13, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - Pitcher Fielding Practice Drills - Double Play Feeds and Covering First

Baseball Coaching Digest - Pitcher Fielding Practice Drills - Double Play Feeds and Covering First
By guest author: Nick Dixon

Pitcher fielding practice should be an important part of every team's regular practice routine. Pitcher fielding practice is an activity that allows pitchers to practice fielding and making good throws to the different bases in different situations.

Our Pitcher Fielding Practice or PFP, as it is called, requires all infielders and all pitchers. The activity takes only 7 minutes. Therefore we do PFP drills every day in practice. This practice activity requires two coaches to fungo or hit the ground balls, 6 baseballs, and 4 catchers alternating and catching up.

First Set - Pitcher Covering First and Bunt throw to 2nd Base

We begin the activity by having 2 middle infielders report to their position. We will then divide the pitchers into two groups. One line will be getting over to first on a ball hit to the right side. The other line will be fielding bunts and making the throw to second. This is the first segment of the drill and we do this for 3.5 minutes without a beak. The pitchers will rotate lines after each throw.

The "cover first group" works on the right side of the diamond. The bunt cover to 2nd base group works on the left side of the diamond. The line will run out toward 2nd base. The pitchers will set up even with the pitching rubber but will shade to their respective side to allow enough space for both groups to work at the side time without delays or stopping.

Coaching Points: Covering First

The pitcher will must take a good angle toward the line and work up the line toward the bag. The catcher will yell, "get over" each time a ball is hit. The first baseman will communicate with the pitcher to let him know if he will take to the bag himself. If the first baseman bobbles or is slower getting to a ball, the pitcher will setup and stretch on the throw. It is important that the pitcher avoid shading over into the base path in order to avoid a collision with the runner. The pitchers will work out of the windup.

Coaching Point: Bunt throw to 2nd base

The pitchers and catchers will make a call. If the catcher can field it, he will. If the pitcher fields it, the catcher will make a "2 call". Communication and verbal calls by the catcher is an important part of this drill. The pitcher must make a perfect throw every time. Make sure that the pitcher has the right approach to the ball and sets the feet before picking it up, if he can. Good footwork will save time and make execution of the throw easier. The pitchers will work out of the stretch.

Set 2 - "Squeeze Play and Throwing to Second Baseball to Double Play"

During the second half of PFP's we will have the "right" side group field a "come backer" ground ball and make a throw to 1st or 2nd. The "left" side group will may a "do-or-die" play on a squeeze play for 1 minute and then cover home on a passed ball for the remaining 2 minutes. Read more.

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