By: Austin Alexander
As every spring rolls around, coaches across the country ready their teams for the upcoming season, optimistic about what is right around the corner!
Pre-season practice usually begins with endless fungos hit, countless hours inside the cage and fly balls lifted to our outfielders as the pitchers gear up in the bullpen. As players begin to cross that line from rusty to ready, and opening day sits two weeks away, any coach worth his salt now begins to ponder, âWhat else do I need to do to make sure my team is ready when that first bell rings.â
We stress fundamentals and repetition, we preach âone day at a timeâ and âremain focused on our goalsâ but our report card, our win-loss record, will ultimately prove whether our team was prepared to play.
Weâve all been there as that first game of the year closes in; we rack our brain over and again, âWhat else do I need to do to make sure my team is ready when that first bell rings.â
Allow me to provide you with valuable information I received years ago, youâve got to start with a checklist. Without a listing of coaching points, you will scramble at the eleventh hour to ensure youâve covering everything.
We continue to work our way around the diamond and provide you with a list that will put your mind at ease when the first pitch is made.
Our tour picks back up at the hot corner, third base.
A few things to consider:
- Groundballs to the forehand/backhand-side, dive-play and slow-roller
- Groundball with infield in followed by a throw to the plate
- Footwork on feeds from P, C and 1B
- 5-3âs in and deep (directly at him, forehand/backhand)
- 5-4-3âs (directly at him, forehand/backhand)
- 5-3 unassisted DPâs
- Taking throws from the outfield, tag-play
Hopefully this quick refresher ensures that youâll be strong at every infield position, statistics show most balls are handled in this area. While you can never fully simulate every situation that may arise during a ballgame, the more scenarios you can familiarize him with, the more comfortable you both will be.
Next stop, outfielders.