There may be a ton of drills out there to work on your fielding, but these Top 11 Outfield Drills For Youth Baseball Players that will help you improve the most. Whether it’s throwing, catching, or even running to catch a fly ball – these drills can help you with all aspects of outfield play!
11 Outfield Drills For Youth Baseball Players
- High Five/Low Five Drill
This drill is great for improving your throwing accuracy.
- Have a partner stand about five feet in front of you and another one at ten feet away from you.
- Throw the ball to them and give them a high five when they catch it. If the ball needs to be caught above the waist, a high-five glove position is used.
- If the ball needs to be caught below the waist, a low-five glove position is used.
- If at the waist, the player bends his knees and high-fives the ball.
- This can be done using the glove and normal baseballs or with a bare hand (glove hand only) using tennis balls.
- Then have them step back another five feet and try to throw it to you again. Keep repeating this until you can’t hit them anymore.
This drill is a great way to work on accuracy and throwing length, but there’s another reason why it’s so effective for outfielders – conditioning! This drill will have you working up a sweat in no time because of how far apart your partner needs to be after every throw. You’ll also need an accurate arm if you want to hit them every time!
- Toss Drill
You can do this with a partner or by yourself, but for the most part you’ll want to work on it alone because if you have someone standing there catching each throw, they won’t be able to give you enough of an arm angle to make the drill effective.
To do this drill:
- You’ll need a few cones or other markers to designate where you’re going to be throwing from and to.
- You’ll also need a target – either a net or someone who is willing to stand in place and catch your throws.
- Throw the ball at the target, making sure that you hit it every time.
- If you’re working with a partner, have them stand about ten feet away from you and toss the ball back to you.
This drill is great for improving your accuracy, but it’s also good for improving your arm strength. The farther away the target is, the more force you’ll need to put behind your throw in order to hit it.
- Footwork Timing Drill
When you are working on your footwork, it is important to have good timing. This drill will help improve your timing.
To do this drill:
- You will need a partner.
- You and your partner will stand facing each other about six feet apart.
- Have your partner toss a ball to you.
- As the ball is coming to you, step forward and catch the ball with your feet together.
- Then step forward again with your left foot, catch the ball with your right foot, step forward again with your right foot, catch with your left foot, step forward again with your left foot, etc.
The key is to be able to reverse direction quickly so you can stay in front of each other. It can be done at different speeds to make it more challenging. You can also add in some partner passes while you are doing the drill.
Works on basic catching fundamentals, improves the footwork and timing of the catch and transition to throwing, promotes getting behind the ball and squaring up to the infield on the catch and decreases the steps of the catch and throw process
Try this drill today and see how you can improve your footwork and timing.
- Behind The Ball Drill
A baseball is sent into the air. The outfielder takes a step or two behind the ball and advances to catch it using good footwork and timing. To simulate catching a line drive, the outfielder should square up to the target and keep his eye on the ball as he approaches it.
Benefits of Behind the Ball Drill
The outfielder can practice:
- good footwork
How to Perform the Drill
- Have a partner or coach throw a baseball into the air for the outfielder to catch.
- The outfielder should take a step or two behind the ball and advance to catch it using good footwork and timing. To simulate catching a line drive, the outfielder should square up to the target and keep his eye on the ball as he approaches it.
- If this drill is performed correctly, the outfielder will catch the baseball in stride with good footwork and timing.
- Dive Bomber Drill
A player runs up to a coach, throws the ball when close, circles the coach, and goes out for a football-style pass. The ball is thrown in order for the player to track it. In order to catch the ball, a player must do a full 180 degree turn and come down with both hands extended.
This is a good drill for teaching tracking skills because the player needs to look where he wants the ball to go as soon as possible or else it will be too late to adjust. It also teaches catching skills because throwing mechanics are important for passing the ball properly.
- While running, catching the ball – This aids in the development of reflex, balance, and speed when catching a ball.
- Proper running technique – This includes correct arm motion while running. Weight distribution and balance.
- Enhances outfield range – This drill is a good way to improve distance and speed. It also helps players gain a sense of how far they will have to run in the outfield. Familiarizing oneself with the time it would take to cover that distance.
- Improves the angle and shape of the ball – This drill allows players to practice making catches at different angles.
- Drop Step/Hop Step Drill
A ball is thrown by a partner or coach over one of the player’s shoulders. The player drop steps (or hop steps) and tracks down the fly ball and makes the catch. Balls can be thrown over both shoulders to work on drop steps (or hop steps) to both sides.
- The purpose of this drill is to improve your explosiveness in getting to first base.
- Start out by standing at the front of home plate with a bat in your hand.
- Take a step back with your left foot and then hop on your right foot.
- Swing the bat as you would in a regular batting stance.
- As you swing, take a step towards first base with your left foot.
- Make sure to keep your back straight and your head down as you run.
- When you reach first base, plant your right foot and slide into the bag.
- Make sure to keep your hand on the ground as you slide.
- After you reach first base, get up and start backpedaling to home plate.
- Make sure to keep your head down and your back straight as you run.
- When you reach home plate, stop and take a step back.
- Repeat the drill until you get to first base.
- Zig-Zag Drill
This drill is similar to the Drop Step Drill. The player drops steps to one side. The partner/coach then tosses the ball to the other side. The player whips his head around (temporarily losing sight of the ball) and turns to go after the ball in the other direction.
The Zig-Zag Drill is a great way to improve your fielding ability. By lining up in a zig-zag pattern, you are forced to move when fielding balls hit you.
- Line up in a zig-zag pattern across the field. The distances between each player should be about 15 feet apart.
- One player will throw ground balls in the direction of one of the players in the line.
- Each fielder should field the ball and then quickly move to the next spot in the line.
- Repeat this process until all players have had a chance to field a ball.
- Across the middle Drill
In baseball, one of the most important skills to develop is the ability to hit the ball through the infield. To do this, you need to be able to hit the ball with power and accuracy. The across-the-middle drill will help you improve both of these skills.
To perform this drill, you will need a partner and a baseball.
- First, form two lines about 20 feet apart directly behind the pitching plate with both players facing each other.
- One player will be in one line and the partner will be on the other line. The drill starts when the player/coach who is up calls out “Ready!” or some other cue to his partner. The partner will then pitch the ball to the coach/player and he will hit it back across the middle. The players must keep their eye on the ball and run as soon as they make contact.
- After five minutes of hitting, switch positions with your partner and play defense while he hits.
- Pitchers should attempt to throw fastballs at about 80 percent.
- The partner should make sure he pitches the ball in the strike zone and mixes up speeds, high and low.
- Back to the fence Drill
Works on proper running technique, proper footwork to the correct side of the ball and quick return to the infield.
An outfielder sets up about 20-30 feet away from an outfield wall or fence. A partner/coach throws a ball over the outfielder so that it rolls to the fence. The outfielder goes after the ball and fields it off the fence. If the outfielder is right handed, he should be sure to get to the right side of the ball when fielding. If left handed, he should get to the left.
Players should also focus on getting to the ball as fast as possible and throw the ball back to the infield as fast as possible as well.
This focuses on working:
- Running technique – getting to the ball quickly
- Proper footwork and positioning to the ball – getting to the correct side of the ball
- Make haste in returning to the infield – getting back in time for a throw from another player on defense
- Corner Drill
If done in a gym, the outfielder(s) stand in one corner of the room. A coach (in the opposite corner on the other side of the gym) rolls a ball to a vacant area on the players’ side. The outfielder goes after it and attempts to stop it.
After reaching the baseball, the outfielder spins and fires to a cut-off man in the far corner of the gym. Outfielders should complete this drill in both directions. This play resembles a ball hit to gaps or corners, where the outfielder must cut off and return it to the infield as soon as possible.
Benefits of Corner Drill
- Simulate realistic game-like situations.
- Extremely helpful for players of all positions, including pitchers.
- Reduces the amount of time outfielders are standing around waiting for their next pitch or drill.
- Improves conditioning levels of players through high intensity running, turning and throwing at high speeds.
- Helps create muscle memory needed to be able to complete plays quickly in game situations without thinking too much.
- HR Rob Drill
Have the player set up about 20-25 feet from a wall or fence. The player breaks to the wall/fence and a partner/coach lobs a ball so that the player is able to jump and catch the ball up against or just over the wall/fence.
After a few reps, have the player break to the wall/fence from a different angle. To promote safety, be sure to pick a wall/fence that does not have any protruding parts that can hurt a player who jumps into it to catch.
This works on:
- Eye/hand coordination on the catch – catching the ball right next to or “above” the wall/fence.
- Better angles and lines to the ball – Have you ever asked a player to catch the ball, and he missed it because he was looking for the ball at his hip level? This forces him to look high and get on top of the ball.
- First step quickness – Be sure to watch the video that goes with this drill, and you will see how the player has to work his feet quickly in order for him to get into position. This is an excellent way for youths (and anyone) to improve footwork, especially on chipped balls.
- Footwork timing on the jump – As the ball is coming in, the player has to time his jump so that he is able to get to the ball at its highest point.
- Reading balls hit to the fence – Most youth players are so used to playing in the infield, that they have a hard time when the ball is hit to them in the outfield. This drill will help them get better at reading balls and getting good jumps on them.
Importance of Outfield Drills for Youth Baseball Players
According to some coaches, outfield play may be the most important aspect of youth baseball. In order to win games, a team must hit and pitch well. However, if a player is unable to catch fly balls or stop grounders from getting through the infield, it doesn’t matter how well they can swing a bat or throw a fastball.
Good outfield play can take away hits from the other team and help keep runners from advancing. Outfield drills can help players become better fielders by teaching them how to catch fly balls and grounders, as well as how to throw the ball to the correct bases.
Outfield drills can help players become better fielders and improve their baseball skills. By practicing these drills, players can learn how to catch fly balls and grounders and make accurate throws to the correct bases. These skills can help players contribute to their team’s success on the baseball diamond.
Final thoughts on Outfield Drills
In order to be successful in baseball, it is important for players to have a strong foundation in the basics. Once a player has mastered these skills, it is possible to shift attention towards more advanced techniques. However, without mastering the basics first, players will not be able to improve their game and help their teammates become better as well.
The drills in this article are designed for youth baseball players who have just begun learning how to play or for those that want to improve their game. When done properly, these drills can help players learn the skills that are necessary to be successful at baseball and provide them with a strong foundation on which to build.