Friday, August 19, 2005

Turning Two

The Double Play: A Defensive Lifesaver

As baseball coaches, how many times have we seen a game’s momentum changed by a double play ending a scoring threat? On the other hand, how exciting is it to witness our team’s execution of getting two outs off a single ground ball? The double play is an excellent way to either break up or enhance the tempo of the game. At Omaha Central High School, we have constructed a drill to isolate different positions and put infielders in game-like situations asking them to execute the double play on a ground ball. The following is a summary of the drill we use:

Phase I 3rd Base Execution
On the Field: 3rd Base, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners

Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 3rd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The 3rd baseman will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The second baseman will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase II Shortstop Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners


Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 3rd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The shortstop will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The second baseman will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase III 2nd Base Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners


Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 2nd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The shortstop will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The shortstops will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase IV 1st Base Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunne
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Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 1st baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The 1st baseman will execute a double play with the shortstop. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The shortstop will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.



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