The better a baseball infielder's range, the more plays he can make. But range has to be developed through baseball agility drills that work on first-step burst, quickness and acceleration. Here are three drills I use with my infielders at Ashland University.
Baseball Agility Drills
4-Color Cone Drill
Suitable for all ages, this drill works all three important agility skills—first-step burst, quickness and acceleration. It is especially beneficial because it mimics game situations throughout, including carrying your glove low toward a ground ball and finishing with throwing technique.
- Set up a starting point for your infielder.
- Place four different colored cones 10 feet in front of the infielder at various angles—e.g., red cone at 60 degrees to the right; blue cone at 45 degrees to the right; yellow cone at 45 degrees to the left; and green cone at 60 degrees to the left.
- Coach calls out a color; player runs to the cone, keeping his glove hand down as if charging a ground ball.
- Player backpedals to the starting point.
- Repeat until specified reps are completed. On the final rep of the set, the player does a "slow-roller" fielding and throwing action through the cone.
- Sets/Reps: 3x5
This drill is great for infielders, because it improves their first-step quickness and acceleration toward a ground ball hit in either direction.
- From the starting point (Cone A), set up a cone 5 yards to the left (Cone B) and another one 5 yards to the right (Cone C).
- Straddle Cone A.
- Turn and sprint to Cone B and touch it.
- Turn and sprint to Cone C and touch it.
- Turn and sprint through Cone A.
- Repeat drill in opposite direction.
- Coaches can also instruct players to laterally shuffle through the 5-10-5 pattern.
- Sets: 2-3 each direction
Speed Ladder Fielding Drill
This one improves an infielder's foot speed, teaching him to maintain solid balance throughout his movements in game-like situations.
- Player performs a selected speed ladder routine toward a partner.
- Once the player makes it through the ladder, the partner rolls a ground ball toward him.
- Repeat, varying the direction of the ground balls (center, left, right).
- Repeat using different speed ladder routines.
- Sets: 2-3 each variation
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