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 moves to the grass, outfielders.
A few things to consider:
- Flyballs live off the bat
- Flyballs fungoed right, left, in, back, soft liners and line drives right at them
- Flyballs fungoed on the ground and in the air right, left, in, back, soft liners and line drives right at them followed by a throw to all four bases
- Playing the sun
- Mis-direction flyballs
- Dive plays
- Groundballs to the right, left, right at them (no one on/glove drags)
- Playing the wall/fence
Hopefully this quick refresher ensures that your outfielders will either run down every mistake or the guy you are trying hide out there doesnât get exposed too badly. 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, Team Defense.