Welcome to Drill of the Week, a series on ACTIVEkids.com that explains individual and team drills for parents and coaches to help kids improve at the sports they love.
This week's drill is Figure 8, a baseball drill brought to you by TheDrillbook.com.
Figure 8 is a multifunctional drill that incorporates all aspects of the double play. This includes the proper double play positioning, the pre-pitch set up, the proper fielding position, "feeds"(throws), and "pivots"(footwork) from both the shortstop and the second baseman.
Divide all infielders into 2 groups. One group goes to shortstop and the other group goes to second base. Players on both sides of second base will be positioned according to double play depth. The coach will stand next to the mound on the shortstop side with a bucket of balls. He will either roll or hit a ground ball to the shortstop who will field the ball and make a good throw to the second baseman standing on second base.
After throwing the ball, the shortstop goes to the end of the line at second base. After catching the throw, the second baseman goes to the end of the line at shortstop. The coach can move to the second base side of the pitcher's mound halfway through the drill.
Key Teaching Points
Positioning: The middle infielders will position themselves eight steps off second base and 11 steps back from the baseline. This will put them approximately in double play depth. Both players should be approximately 20 feet from bag.
Pre-Pitch Set Up: All players should be in a good athletic position with their feet shoulder width apart, knees flexed, hands in front of chest and eyes on the ball.
Fielding: The key here is for the shortstop to catch the ball in the middle of his body with his left foot slightly opened toward second base or to catch the ball and pull back the left foot to open the hips, creating a good throwing alley. The key for the second baseman is to catch the ball in the center of his body with his right foot pulled slightly back.
Feeds: Both the shortstop and the second baseman should focus on throwing the ball uphill toward the chest of the receiving player. He should also aim for the middle of the base. Make sure to remind the players to field the ball first and then make a good throw. The out at second is the most important one in a double play..."one for sure".
Pivots: The shortstop places his right foot on the ground directly behind the center of the bag with his toes touching the base. He will have his hands up while anticipating a bad throw. After catching the ball, the shortstop quickly rotates his body towards first base. The second baseman will put his left foot on the center of the bag with his hands up by his chest while anticipating a bad throw. He will pull his left foot off the base, open his front foot toward first base, and then throw.
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