Fielding All Angles

The Pitchfork is one of our favorite drills and will be discussed more in depth in this section. The ability to field each prong of the pitchfork is important for the outfielder. An outfielder must be able to field a flyball going backwards or forwards at any angle, which makes the pitchfork a simple way of grading players on their ability to field balls going different directions. The drill is highlighted in Movie 1.5 for players going backwards. The drill can be flipped by moving the line farther away from the coach so the players are moving towards the coach. The coach can again opt to use tennis balls or baseballs to work on proper catching technique.

The Alley Drill is a simple, active, and fun drill for outfielders and requires the outfielder to cover some space. Divide the outfielders into two groups - one to the thrower’s left and one to the right - and about 30-40 feet from the thrower. The thrower starts with two balls in his hand, tells the first outfielder to go (either side), throws the first ball easy and more shallow to force an over-the-shoulder catch, and upon the catch of the first ball, tells the outfielder to accelerate and throws the ball on the same path but considerably farther, forcing a more difficult catch (see the Pitchfork movie). After completing one player on the first side, flip to the line on the other side to complete the same sequence.

Catching flyballs can always be practiced using a man hitting a fungo or off of a machine as well. Live scrimmaging, especially the Doghouse Scrimmage, forces proper fundamentals in pressure situations.