Baseball teams don't need a big outdoor diamond and a sunny day to get a lot of practice. Players can use several fielding and hitting drills to hone their skills in gymnasiums, indoor sports facilities and batting cages when inclement weather takes away their field.
Hitting rubber balls on a gymnasium floor may not be a great way to replicate grounders, but fielders can polish their defensive footwork on the basketball court. In one basic drill, a coach hits balls well to their right and left, forcing fielders to use proper footwork to reach the ball, field it, set and throw.
Hitting pop-ups in a gym is out of a question, but over-the-shoulder catching drills can teach outfielders to take good routes to the ball. The fielder assumes a fielding position about 15 feet from the thrower, who lofts the ball beyond him like a football quarterback throwing a pass. The fielder takes a drop step left or right and angles back to catch the ball, holding his glove up near his chest while he runs.
A line of infielders forms 30 to 40 feet from a wall corner. The first player throws a rubber ball off the right wall, fields it, jump pivots and throws the ball to the left. The next player steps up, fields the ball, jump pivots and throws it to the right. Players keep rotating through the line. This drill simulates the receiving, footwork and throwing mechanics of the double-play relay.
This is a good fielding drill for limited space, like a narrow batting cage lane. Two players stand a short distance apart and skip low, one-hop throws back and forth, gloving the ball on both their backhand side and glove side. They start out by alternating throws to the left and right before shifting to random low throws at all body angles. This drill develops the ability to scoop up short hops. You can also use this drill to help catchers learn to slide left or right to block pitches in the dirt.
Hitting Off a Tee
Hitters can work on their swing mechanics inside the gym by using Wiffle balls instead of regular baseballs. First, they can hit balls off of a tee five times using only their top hand, then they can use only their bottom hand five times. Then they use both hands to drive five balls straight back up the middle. They can raise or lower the tee to work on hitting high or low pitches.
Hitting Plastic Golf Balls
To improve their hand-to-eye coordination, hitters can swing at plastic golf balls tossed softly toward them from the side. Hitters must sharpen their focus to consistently make solid contact with the smaller ball.
- Photo Credit David-Shih/iStock/Getty Images
Indoor Football Drills
Football is an all-weather sport on gameday, but torrential rains or inclement weather can take a toll on the playing surface. In...