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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baseball Drills - The Value of Learning Multiple Positions - Owned & Operated by Coaches

By Nate Barnett

It seems to me that when the topic of trying a new position is brought up to many young athletes, they cringe in disgust. Playing multiple positions well is out of the question in their minds. They have their one or two positions and that's it, period. If you work with some athletes of that mindset, the following might be worth sharing.

During our pick-up games when I was growing up, we played as many positions as we could in the field. When it came time for our coaches to work on defensive baseball drills in practice there were always multiple players who could play different positions in the field. Because of that willingness to try a new spot, the perceived value of each of those multi-position athletes continued to rise with each new position learned.

Here are a few observations I've picked up:

1. Right-handed players have a greater ability to work into new positions as compared to lefties.

2. There are more baseball players playing the game in America now that there ever has been.

3. There are more international players entering the Major Leagues today than there ever has been. Assuming the points above are accepted, and assuming most serious athletes want to play high school baseball or above (college and then professionally) here are the responses that must be taken into consideration by any athlete.

Since there are more right-handed athletes in the game than lefties, there is naturally more competition defensively at every position. Because of this increased competition, the percentage chance of an athlete being able to move on to the next level decreases dramatically if he only understands how to play one position well.

The population in America as well as the value placed on athletics has continued to rise in the past couple decades. There are countless reasons for this, none of which will be discussed at this point. I will just assume you will buy into this statement at face value. Therefore, by simply taking raw numbers, there is more competition for the same positions at the upper levels of the game.

Finally, it is no secret that there are more players from the international community being selected for professional baseball teams in the United States. Because of this, the sheer number of athletes competing for roughly the same amount of positions has increased. This effectively places lower value on an athlete who only understands how to play one position very well.

What amount of time and importance should be placed on learning multiple positions well? It should be a focus and concentration of all defensive baseball drills, workouts, and practices. The advice I give is to get good at multiple positions in the event that an amazing athlete comes along who plays your spot.

You'll want another spot to fall back to or you'll fade away from the game.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

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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