Review the throws and catch
For many, the onset of spring means just one thing: baseball season, with baseball fever often gripping those who play or coach the game. During the winter, baseball players pat their bats and oil their new hard gloves in anticipation of the hot weather so they can hit the diamond to hone their skills.
Throwing and catching are by far the most universal skills in the game, as every position on the court needs to be able to do each so well that they could practically do them while they sleep. Add some variety to your baseball practice this year by including some of the following free baseball drills that aim to improve your players’ throwing and catching skills.
The first of free baseball drills is for off-camera in particular. The Long Toss exercise is a great way to lengthen players ‘throwing distances and build strength in players’ arms, especially those throwing with a pushing motion. To begin the exercise, divide your team into partners standing face to face about 30 feet apart. When possible, match players with similar throw distances.
Ask the partner to jump in and catch up. When they each make 5 pitches and catches each without missing a single one, have each player step back 5 feet – the length of a giant stride. Continue until the players are no longer able to perform the smooth throws.
The next free baseball drills rewards players with quick reflexes. The Quick Hands exercise is set up the same way as the Long Toss exercise mentioned above: with players in partnership and standing face to face about 30 feet apart. The exercise begins with a whistle and the partners should throw the ball between them as fast as possible.
As you take each take, have the player call out the number of takes. The pair that can throw the most catches in 30 seconds, marked by another whistle, is the winner. If one of the players misses a capture, their count reverts to zero. As your team improves, ask them to start moving further away. This exercise is great for encouraging a healthy little competition within your team.
Finally, we have the basic pitching drill, which teaches players precise pitching and scoring procedures during a run to second base. To set up the drill, place an outfielder at first and second base. Divide the remaining players into two groups, placing one group behind the first goal and the other behind the second.
The drill begins with the sound of your whistle, and all players except the outfielders start running wildly between first and second base. During this drill, the field players should mark as many players as possible. As soon as a player is tagged, he must leave the field. Field players have one minute to mark as many players as possible. This exercise forces your field workers to think on their feet and react quickly to a high pressure situation.