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Most people think that an outfielder has an easy job. They
do not stop to think that if a ball is hit past an outfielder there is no
one to back him up as does an infielder.
An outfielder should assume the same position as an infielder, feet spread
comfortably apart, body bent at the waist with the hands on his knees. If
he keeps his body properly balanced he will be able to go in any direction
The two things an outfielder should have are a strong arm and speed. His
arm is the best defensive weapon he can possess to stop a runner from
taking an extra base. His speed, of course, enables him to catch up to
those fly balls hit away from him. Many games are won by the extra step an
outfielder gets by extra speed. As has been said many times before,
"baseball is a game of inches."
3. Fly Balls:
To start with, an outfielder must learn the correct position to have his
hands when catching a fly ball. If a ball is being caught at the chest or
above the fingers, his glove should be pointed upward; if the ball is
being caught below the chest, the fingers of his glove should extend
downward. There is only one way really to learn how to catch a ball--that
is to practice. Have someone hit fly balls all day long if possible. If no
one is around to hit fly balls take a rubber ball and throw it up in the
air, then get under it and catch it.
3. Ground Balls:
On balls hit on the ground an outfielder should get down on one knee and
catch the ball. This may seem like a slow method in returning the ball to
the infield, but it is also the safest way. As stated before, the
outfielder does not have anyone behind him, so he must stop the ball and
make sure it does not go through for extra bases. The only help he will
have is from the other two outfielders and they should always attempt to
back each other up.
4. Team Work:
Not only should outfielders back each other up but they can help each
other in other ways. By yelling to each other they will tell which one can
catch a fly ball without colliding. With a man on base tagging up after a
fly is caught the fielder closest to the one catching the ball should yell
wheter the runner tagging up is going for the next base or faking his
move. One move that is seldom used by an outfielder, but there is no
reason why he shouldn't if the opportunity arises is during a rundown on
the base paths. An outfielder should not stand watching the play; he
should run in and cover a bag or back up the infielders in case a throw
One of the most talked about mistakes concerning an outfielder is throwing
to the wrong base. If an outfielder, like everyone else on the team, keeps
in his mind the number of outs in an inning, the score and the inning
itself he should not throw to the wrong base. As a rule of thumb, never
throw behind the baserunner. The only time you do throw behind the runner
is when your team is ahead and the baserunner is question does not matter
in the final score. For example, with a man on second and two out in the
seventh inning, a base hit to the outfield and the score is six to one.
The throw should be to second to stop the hitter from advancing to scoring
Jim Crane's Outfield Tips
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Dropping The Rear
Shoulder: A Common
According to Jerry Kindall, coach of the U. of Arizona baseball team,
dropping the rear shoulder at the start of the swing is one of the three
most common batting errors.
This mistake results in poor visual contact with the ball-especially
during the final, critical 20 feet to the plate. It also produces a weak,
upward swing path.
Why? Because dropping the back shoulder causes the front shoulder to move
upwards and away from the pitch. It also lifts the head, producing a loss
of focus on the ball. Finally, the back elbow drops with the shoulder,
resulting in a weak, pushing, upward swing path.
How to Correct
If your batters are having this problem, instruct them to lift their back
elbow a little higher while waiting for the pitch. And tell them to keep
their front shoulder pointed towards the incoming ball as long as possible
before starting their swing.
These corrections will help them to keep their shoulders level and their
head motionless for better eye-focus on the ball.
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