Brushing up on Throwing and Catching
For many, the arrival of spring means one thing only: baseball season, with baseball fever often gripping those that play or coach the game. During the winter, baseball players tap their bats and oil their stiff, new gloves in anticipation of warm weather so they can hit the diamond to brush up on their skills.
Throwing and catching are by far the most universal skills in the game, since every position on the field must be able to do each so well they could practically do them in their sleep. This year, add some variety to your baseball practice by including some of the following free baseball drills that focus on improving your players’ throwing and catching abilities.
The first of the free baseball drills is for outfielders in particular. The Long Toss drill is an excellent way to lengthen players’ throwing distances and build players’ arm strength, especially those who throw with a pushing motion. To begin the drill, divide your team in partners standing facing each other approximately 30 feet apart. Where possible, partner together players with similar throwing distances.
Have the partner throw and catch to each other. When they successfully make 5 throws and catches each without missing a single one, have each player back up 5 feet, or the length of one giant stride. Continue until players are no longer able to make the throws smoothly.
The next of the free baseball drills rewards players with quick reflexes. The Quick Hands drill is set up similarly to the Long Toss drill mentioned above: with players partnered off and standing facing each other about 30 feet apart. The drill begins with a toot on the whistle and partners are to throw the ball back and forth between each other as fast as they possibly can.
As they make each catch, have the player yell out the number of catch it is. Whichever pair can throw the most catches in a 30 second period, which is marked by another blow on the whistle, is the winner. If either player misses a catch, their count returns to zero. As your team improves, have them begin standing further apart. This drill is great for encouraging a little healthy competition amongst your team.
Finally, we have the Base Throw drill, which teaches players accurate throwing and tagging procedures during a rundown at second base. To set up the drill, place a fielder at first and second base. Divide the remaining players into two groups, setting one group behind first base and the other behind second.
The drill begins with the sound of your whistle, and all players except the fielders begin running wildly between first and second base. During this drill, the fielders are to tag as many players as possible. As soon as a player is tagged, the must exit the field. The fielders are given one minute to tag as many players as possible. This drill forces your fielders to think on their feet and react quickly during a high-pressure situation.