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 behind the dish, catchers.
A few things to consider:
- Block and throw to all three bases
- Throwing/footwork to 1B (inside and out), 2B and 3B, on feet and from knees (if you allow it)
- Fielding bunts and throwing to 1B, 2B and 3B
- Tracking ball to the screen followed by a throw to the plate
- Taking throws from every position on the field (including pitcher: 1-2-3 DP), tag-play and force-play from infielders/pitcher, tag-plays from outfielders.
- If you call his pitches, do it during an intra-squad at game speed
Hopefully this quick refresher ensures your pitcherâs will feel comfortable with his battery-mate and your catcher will be the quarterback of your team. 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, Middle infield.