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.
Over the next two weeks weâll 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.
Weâll continue our tour around the infield and land at our third DH position, first base.
A few things to consider:
- Groundballs to the forehand/backhand-side and dive-play
- Footwork on throws from across the infield (including catcher, inside and out)
- Taking short-hop throws from across the infield (including catcher, inside and out)
- Fielding bunts and throwing to 1B, 2B, 3B and home
- Making a throw to 2B following groundballs in front of/behind the bag and a left-handerâs pickoff move
- Groundball with infield in following by a throw to the plate
- Groundballs to the forehand, backhand side and dive-play
- Backing up throws on passed ball/wild pitch
Hopefully this quick refresher ensures that the guy you stuck at first base because he couldnât play anywhere else, doesnât kill you. 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, second base.