Fielding Drills for Baseball Pitchers
So ... You start today with your healthy lifestyle.
Three letters that strike dread among pitchers of all calibers and skill level—from the majors, to high school, to even little league: ‘PFP.’ The reviled Pitchers Fielding Practice has probably been maligned since its inception, but it has its benefits and purpose. Just ask the 2006 Detroit Tigers, who saw numerous chances bobbled away through errant fielding by their pitchers throughout that World Series loss.
Baseball is a game of outs and there is no sense in giving up one fielding position just because they’re encumbered in pitching. From the fielding perspective the pitcher has three priorities; self-protection, fielding the bunt, and covering or backing up the bases. Having good glove play in this position turns this into an advantage for the team and the pitcher. But, like most baseball skills, it doesn’t come without practice.
The following drill focuses on one of those three elements of the pitchers fielding skill development. Use this and other drills to add a variety into the practice. Pitchers in general hate the monotony and not being in control with running the same "cover first" drill over and over. But the basics need to be covered and repeated until they are instinctual and triggered automatically. Where you can, add in a competitive element to the drills, players and especially pitchers love competing all the time.
Drill Skill Target: Fielding the Bunt
While leaving the slow roller or the drop bunt in front of the plate to your corner fielders or you catchers is the preferred assignment, sometimes there isn’t enough time. In this drill we want to have the pitchers get comfortable coming off the mound and bare-handing a ball off the grass then planting their feet for a smooth directed throw to first base. Begin by placing a baseball equidistant between the mound and home, the mound and the first base line and one more between the mound and the third base line.
Have the pitcher simulate their throw off the mound. Then, once their follow through leg hits the ground they should immediately move to field the ball in front of them. Then, the ball on the fall-off side (usually first base for righties) and then the last one on the opposite side. Watch for positioning as they complete their follow-through. Not everyone will be square to the plate. Glove ready after the pitch will help not only in fielding the slow roller, but also in self-preservation for the shots up the middle. Coaches should instruct pitchers to grasp the ball by coming straight down on top of it. Fielders that try to scoop a stationary ball will, many a time push or kick it away in the process. Check that the pitchers plant their throwing-side leg and step toward first base on the throw; this will help avoid many an errant throw to the left or the right. Lastly, time them. From follow through foot land to ball in first baseman’s mitt is a race against a runner. If you do not force the practice at game speed during the drill, pitchers will feel rushed when they have to perform this maneuver during the game increasing the chance of error.
Finding out that you have eight fielders in play, but only seven that field is a disadvantage that can be avoided by spending some time in advance on some good ole PFPs.
About the Author
I am Matthew Evans and I want to show people how beautiful and interesting our world is. I am a coach, zodiac casino reviews writer and travel blogger. In addition, I really like to read new information about psychology and sport. I hope that my knowledge will help me to understand people and make their lives better. My passion is running. You can feel completely free while you run.