Develop Infield Prowess

18 Jun

Infielder’s are some of the quickest athlete’s in all of sports. The game of baseball, while slow in duration, is one of the fastest games on earth. A 90 MPH pitch comes off the bat at speeds over 100 MPH. In order to make a play between the bags you have to be explosive, reactive, and fundamentally solid. Glove work like The Wizard is something learned through repetition, but the movements and drills below will develop impressive physical traits in top infielders and weekend warriors alike.

Reverse Lunge To Chest Pass

The reverse lunge to chest pass is a great option for infielders as they will often find themselves throwing off one leg. Additionally, this movement is a great choice because of the similar range of motion to fielding a ground ball and getting up to throw.

  • Take a tall stance on two feet, facing the wall or intended path of the throw.
  • Have the ball loaded to your chest.
  • Descend into a reverse lunge.
  • As you come forward from the lunge extend the front leg hip, knee and ankle explosively while simultaneously chest passing the ball.
  • You can also opt to load the ball to the side of the body that is stepping back into the lunge, and push the ball primarily with one hand. (In a similar fashion to the shot put toss).
  • A general set / rep progression is 3 – 10 sets of 2-5 throws per side.

Receive and Release Medicine Ball Throws

Often times an infielder will need to receive the baseball and send it on its way quickly. The obvious example is turning a double play. A strong arm is always helpful, but the differentiating quality of a well turned double play is the turnaround time between receiving the ball and getting it to the next base. Medicine ball throws that train this reactive quality are a great way to train reactive strength in the gym. These two varieties are great places to start.

Partner receive and release chest passes:

  • One athlete will assume a position lying on the ground, back down – chest up. Their legs will be straight, body tight, and arms locked out over the chest as if they have finished a bench press.
  • The other athlete or coach will stand directly behind the athlete’s head.
  • The standing individual will drop the medicine ball from chest height down into the lying athlete’s hands.
  • The athlete on the ground will softly receive the ball to the chest and quickly turn it around, chest passing the ball straight above their chest.
  • A proper weight for the ball should result in the medicine ball traveling to head height or above the standing individual.
  • The coach or athlete dropping the ball will receive each pass and restart the process from square one.
  • A general prescription for sets and reps is 2 – 5 sets of 1 – 3 throws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partner receive and release shot put tosses:

  • Take a stance just outside hip width. Your body will be perpendicular to the wall, or the intended path of the ball.
  • Your partner will be standing directly in front of you with the medicine ball.
  • Your partner will softly toss the medicine to your chest, closer to the back shoulder.
  • The ball will be received at the back shoulder, with the back elbow up, and back hand opened directly behind the ball.
  • The front hand will be positioned lightly on the front of the ball to keep it up.
  • As quickly as possible receive the ball and forcefully throw the back side hip forward, rotate the torso to bring the rib cage relatively square to the wall or intended ball path.
  • Simultaneously push the back hand through the ball.
  • A general recommendation for sets / reps is 2 – 5 sets of 1-3 throws per side

Two Shuffles Into Cross-over With a Stick (Athletic Position)

When things are happening at an extremely fast pace, efficiency is everything. Proper foot work is essential to becoming a great infielder. Furthermore, infielders must be able to change directions and decelerate correctly. Repetition is everything; the drill below is a fantastic way to develop proper foot work, lateral movement mechanics, and deceleration. It is important that this drill is taught in a closed setting with cones, as well as in an open environment with visual and auditory cues to move left or right. Let’s break it down:

Stance:

1. Get in the athletic position

2. Feet shoulder width, soft and springy (on the balls of your foot)

3. Knees slightly bent and rotated outward

4. Hips back (Hip hinge)

5. Lower and upper back arched

6. Arms back and aligned with the torso

Shuffle:

  • Stay in the athletic position
  • Drive / push off the balls of your feet (do not slide or drag the feet)
  • Keep the feet shoulder width, the entire time
  • Perform two lateral shuffles

 Cross-over:

  • Stay in athletic position
  • If your moving to the right then drive off the right leg (complete extension from ankle, knee, and hip)
  • Cross with left leg with a high knee and keep the shoulders squared straight ahead (movement comes from the hips)
  • Keep the feet underneath the shoulders through-out the cross-over
  • Complete one crossover step

Stick:

  • After the cross-over stick your stop into an athletic position, ready to receive a ground ball
Thanks to those in the videos for making these resources available!
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