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Thursday, October 1, 2009
Baseball Infield Play: Want More Twin Killings This Year? Here's How!
By Chip Lemin
Double plays are one of the sweetest things to witness on the diamond in my opinion. They also do not happen by accident,unless it is the line drive double play,which hardly counts as a real Twin Killing. The positioning of your middle infielders is very important in being ready for a double play.Foot work is overlooked by many new coaches. Your players must stay low when delivering the ball to the turn man. These are a few of the things that need to be taught to your players and then practiced over and over. Don't hesitate to have them walk through the play several times before going full speed.
Begin the double play with a throw that is near the player's hands so the transfer is quick and flawless. If the player is late is late getting to the bag, they may have to lead the shortstop with your throw, which means the player may have to take something off of the velocity of the throw.
When a ball is hit to your right, an underhand toss may work since you are usually close enough to the shortstop. Footwork again is key, after fielding the ball, pivot on your right foot, present a clear look of the ball by moving your glove away, and deliver the ball. When you use an underhand toss, be sure to follow through on your pitch, which means let your momentum to carry you towards your target after you you release the ball. This ensures a smooth delivery of the ball by staying balanced.
On a ball that is hit just slightly to your left, you can use a backhanded toss, with your left foot slightly behind your right foot. This toss, like the underhand toss should be started and finished out of an athletic crouching position. There no need or time to stand up and toss the ball. Don't ever be in such a hurry that you fail to use proper footwork and rush your throws. One out is always better than none, and a wild throw to second is a rally starter.
We have a ball hit to your left, taking you away from second base, field the ball and plant your left foot. Then pivot to the right, keeping your right foot slightly behind your left foot, and without taking any steps, quickly pull ball all to your ear, and make an accurate throw to the shortstop.
This ball is also delivered out of a crouching position, without a big wind up. To complete double plays there is not time for the necessary movements, such as extra steps, and long arm movements. The actions must appear seamless and fluid. This is accomplished by a lot of practice to achieve timing between infielders.
Mental preparedness at middle infield positions will reduce physical errors by helping you may sound decisions with the ball. Your players must make sure of the first at second. This is nothing new, but it is true today. Your pitchers must also be included in practicing the twin killing. There will be just as many chances for the double play from the mound as anywhere else. The pitcher must be taught to take their time and lead the shortstop with the throw.
Turning a double play the standard way is a thing of beauty. There is much more to discuss about technique.We will cover more on this subject coming up soon. Footwork and proper catching throwing technique are just as important as a strong arm. If you want more Twin Killings this year, plan on practicing them the right way,and do it often. Perfect practice makes perfect plays.
Thanks Coach Chip
Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at http://www.baseballecourse.com
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