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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baseball Drills - Infield Crispness is Key by Nate Barnett

A crisp infield during a game is inspiring and motivating for all on the team. It's also uninspiring for the other team if they don't match the same level of snap, zip, and crispness. A team of infielders who posses this skills developed through intentional baseball drills will set the tempo of a game.

On the flip side, a sluggish and sloppy infield will not create confidence for the rest of the team and should be avoided like the plague. Here are two ways to develop the all important crispness factor for infielders.

1. Physical crispness is displayed first by hustle on and off the field. A team, and especially an infield, that is quite intentional about how they take to the field demands respect. It shows focus, excitement, and most of all a no-nonsense approach to kicking the others teams' butt. But this skill must be taught from day one of workouts. A coach that pays little attention to this detail and then attempt to put it in place mid-season will struggle to do so. During baseball drills in practice infielders must hard to positions, and if the goal is not achieved, everyone comes on back to the dugout and tries again. The picture gets across quickly. The good news is, few teams do this, therefore a good team will stand out immediately.

2. Another display of physical hustle comes in the form of throwing the ball around the infield after a strikeout. If your team is in the habit of throwing the ball around the infield (and they should be) after an opposing hitter strikes out, be snappy about it. Infielders should reduce the distance from each other by a good five steps. Movements should emulate the type of quickness one would exhibit in performing a double play. I can't emphasize enough the importance of making this part clean and free of error. Nothing like a speedy and precise throw around after a strikeout to keep defensive spirits high.

3. The last skills takes a bit more time and focus to master. It requires more mental focus rather than previous two which required physical focus and preparation. A team that communicates with the pitcher and each other is like a symphony filled with harmony. Baseball shouldn't be played silently, but on the other hand, shouldn't be played with nonsensical sounds of "hey batter bater, swing!" This is not communication, but instead (to keep with the music theme of this paragraph) sounds like a struggling young violinist annoying his parents in the living room! Infielders should remind the pitcher of where he needs to be on bunt defense, when there are runners on base for potential pick offs, etc. Infielders should communicate with each other on positioning with runners on base, cutoffs, etc.

Like I said earlier, this must be practiced consistently during all baseball drills. Communication must be a natural part of the play of the team, and not forced.

A baseball team that can master the above three goals will project an image of confidence and focus. It's far worth the time and effort during baseball instruction to work on these skills.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.
Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions. - The internet's largest and most complete coaching store.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick