The Catchable Fly Ball
My background is in coaching, sports science, planning and mental training and I’m very excited to bring you my experience with tons of softball information about:
- positional play
- team culture and
- the mental game
This week I am going to talk about a play I see all the time in softball. Ok.. there is a hit to the outfield… the 3 fielders converge on the ball and … it falls in the middle. There is an answer for this.
I call it the order of priority
We all know that outfielders have priority over infielders but it is just natural for the middle infielders to want to get out there to field a fly ball. If you run a drill where you set up the cones that basically outline the outfielders mapped area… and hit fly balls to the area even right on the border between the outfielder and the infielder, you will see that the outfielder can actually get to the ball. If you do it first with no infielders and then with infielders, the outfielders will see that if they go all out they can catch the ball without worrying about the infielder who knows that the outfielder has it. I am guaranteeing you that if you practice this method, you will not have balls dropping between the outfield and the infield.
I am talking about this because I saw it 2 times in one game that I watched recently.
The other area is the infield between the second base, shortstop and pitcher, or right behind second base. If you know the shortstop has priority here then there is no confusion and the ball never drops to the ground in that neutral zone with all 3 fielders looking at it like they could have had it. And it’s not because the shortstop is a better fielder that they should have priority… even though that might be the case. It’s because the shortstop’s glove hand is on the side for the most success in catching the ball. When you think about it…. the pitcher would have to move backwards and the second baseman would have to move across her body to catch the ball. Make sense?
When I ran this priority sequence with the entire defense, my teams never had a ball drop that someone could have caught. Sure there are those that no one can get to but most times they can be caught. Agree? I thought you would….