A Guide To Infield Baseball Drills
A Guide To Infield Baseball Drills

In this guide to infield baseball drills, I want to talk about what it means to be a Comprehensive Defender. One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received was from my mentor and good friend Steve Springer. He told me…

”Mark, a good glove will keep your bat in the lineup when you’re struggling at the plate.” I can’t stress how true this statement is. 

Gone are the days when if you weren’t good on defense but could hit, they’ll just stick you in left field for your bat. These days, most players who compete at a high level were the shortstop or center fielders at the previous level. In other words, their athleticism and glove skills were major factors in the amount of playing time they earned throughout the season. 

The Comprehensive Defender.

com·pre·hen·sive - /ˌkämprəˈhensiv/ - adjective

Complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.

An elite defender is elite because of a comprehensive skill set.

Not just "sound of body" with athletic ability or skill-set, but sound of mind and spirit.

There's an intuition and reaction component that slows the game down, which can only be achieved with intense levels of practice over time.

If you want to excel in defense at the highest level, learn how to integrate a comprehensive skill set.

Infield Baseball Myths

Below is an excerpt from the Winning Baseball Academy course on defense. You can also access the entire course for a dollar.

Myth #1: The best infielders at the middle school level become the best high school infielders at the varsity level.

Secret: Just because players are successful infielders in middle school does not ensure that they will remain among the better infielders as they progress to the high school varsity level. Factors such as genetics and physical maturation can cause some infielders to become better outfielders, catchers, or pitchers.

Myth #2: A student must possess a strong arm to play in the infield at the high school level.

Secret: While it helps a high school infielder to have a strong arm, also possessing quick feet, “soft hands” (to handle difficult hops cleanly and securely), and the ability to quickly release the ball can often make up for a lack of pure arm strength.

Myth #3: The average middle school or high school baseball season is long enough to prepare players to become great infielders.

Secret: Most middle school baseball seasons are very short and include a limited number of games. High school seasons are also relatively short. Therefore, after the season has concluded, it may be necessary to play on another team, such as a travel ball team or summer showcase team, to gain the necessary experience to reach your full potential as a fielder. 

The addition of training for agility, speed (the ability to run a certain distance at a fast pace), quickness (the ability to get off to a fast start), eye- hand-coordination, and fielding technique can also turn an average player into an advanced infielder over time.

A Guide To Infield Baseball Drills

Relaxing on Defense.

You can't play defense at an elite level with squeezed cheeks.

When you're tense and playing with pressure, the ball plays you instead of you playing the ball.

Take a deep breath.

Take a moment to realize the tension you're carrying.

Ask yourself, what's the point of playing with tension if it's only slowing me down?

Realize the burden that second-guessing yourself has on your defense.

You feel the pressure because you fear making another mistake.

It happens.

Hopefully, you have a coach who helps you respond to failure positively, but if you don't

Then you're on your own. that's ok.

This is your challenge.

Learn to let go.

Learn to be a better competitor.

Beat your opponent with your mental and emotional makeup.

The glove will follow.

An Antidote To Defensive Errors

Competing on Defensive.

Often we struggle defensively because we're bringing bad at-bats to the field, or we're stuck on our last booted ground ball.

Bad at-bats and defensive errors will happen.

If you're in the lineup, the task is still the same.

To make the next play.

Commit to competing with your best effort, and you'll have something to show for it.

You could go 0-4 with four defensive errors, but if you competed with your best effort, you would have done one thing right.

Playing offense on defense, remove bad hops, cut the distance.

The hardest play is the play to the right

Over 50% of errors are throwing errors

Finish the play in practice

Own the concepts

Anticipation is the mindset

Each pitch is a new situation

Present focused and on time

Situation awareness

Expect to make plays. want the ball

Aggressive, getting to position, under control when throwing.

Reset the Mechanism.

As we move up, the game speeds up.

To play at an elite level, we need mechanisms to help slow the game down.

We can start with the breath.

Controlled, rhythmic, and from the belly.

When we’re attached to results, not in the moment, the game starts to speed up, and our breathing is shallow and stuck in the chest.

Reset the mechanism...

Control your breathing, and the game will slow down.

From here, you can better anticipate the situation and make proper adjustments.

Next thing you know, you’re getting the right hops and good pitches to hit.

Presence on the Field.

The moment you can step on the field, take your position and look at the opposing team in the dugout and say:

  • I’m better than every single one of you.
  • I don’t care who you are, what you’re ranked, how successful you’ve been, I can beat you.
  • Win or lose, I will out-compete you.
  • If my physical game isn’t here today, I’ll beat you with my mental & emotional makeup.

This is when you’ll know you are a great competitor.

This is when you know you have. A mental game.

From here, you can lead by example.

From here, your presence will be felt on the field.

Train the Brain. Train the Glove.

Train the brain to want the ball.

Train the brain to get rid of the ball with intent, accuracy, and poise.

Train the brain to react to the ball off the bat.

Train the brain to expect to make plays.

All of this can be done by playing the game at game speed as often as possible.

The Golden Glove.

The golden glove is holistic. 

It's the complete package that manifests in more ways than slick movements and web gems.

the defensive player with a good glove sticks out like a sore thumb.

They catch, field, and throw with effortless effort.

Staying within themselves, their tempo is always in rhythm with the speed of the game.

Anticipating the next play, their prep step says it all - they want the ball.

Grounded with the footwork they are always in a good position to field the ball with consistency while throwing the ball with efficient movements and accuracy.

Automatic with getting rid of the ball - there's "no mind" with their arm action. accurate throws are the typical result.

Using positive body language and effective communication, they bring a presence that's felt, building up their teammates, leading from the front.

Others follow as a result.

A golden glove breeds leaders.

Athletic body

Focused, present, and on time.

Efficient movements that are under control are easier to repeat.

Repeatable movements give your consistency and accuracy.

Soft hands sure hands

Trusting, instinctive, and adaptive.

How do you perform when the unexpected or adversity appears? ex: a bad hop, pee-rod hit to your backhand with the go-ahead run on 3rd with two outs.

without instincts, the game will overwhelm you when it's time to rise to the occasion.

Sure Arm

Accurate, effortless, and repeatable.

Roughly 80% of errors are throwing errors.

It begins with proper footwork, rhythm, and tempo & a consistent transition.

The body finds efficiency of movement naturally. if you don’t find it - you’ll underachieve.

How can big leaguers throw 162 games in 180 days?

Efficiency of movement & repeatable actions.

Sound Mind

Gamer, Competitor, Grinder - Wanting the ball, expecting to make plays. 

As a defender, can clear the mechanism & want the ball, on every single pitch, never taking pitches off?

  • Athletic body
  • Soft hands sure hands
  • Sure arm
  • Sound Mind

Become comprehensive

Communicating To The Pitcher

As a member of the infield (ss, 2b, 1b, 3b) one of the most powerful things you can do on the field is to remind the pitcher that their best pitch is not always the fastball or offspeed. It's his defense!

empowering your pitcher to work fast, throw strikes, and pith to contact in tough situations is money.

Let the pitcher know he doesn't have to strike out every hitter to get the win.

The whole point of being on defense is to get back in the dugout in as few pitches as possible.

Never let them forget this. be vocal. lead. communicate to your pitcher.

Sure Hands

There aren't a lot of big leaguers who got to the highest level just on their bat alone. sure there are a few. those that were born to really swing it with ++ power and off-the-charts hand-eye coordination.

But most players who get to the next level do it with a well-rounded skillset.

Including elite-level defensive skills.

So here's my question to you. do you trust your glove and arm accuracy?

If so, how much? Can you execute repeatable mechanics on defense?

If so, how consistently? can you adapt to the situation of the game without being overwhelmed?

If so, even when the pressure is on?

How do you perform when the unexpected or adversity appears? ex: a bad hop, pee-rod hit to your backhand with the go-ahead run on 3rd with two outs.

I can't stress enough the importance of good instincts on defense, and it's never too early to learn it.

Be a student of the game.

Study great defensive coaches like Ron Washington, perry hill, Trent Mongero, or Kai Correa.

The wealth of knowledge online is astounding.

There truly is no excuse to not arming yourself with good knowledge on defense.

A Guide To Infield Baseball Drills FAQ

Where can I find solid Baseball infield drills PDFs?

You can get access to over 80+ infield drills to run a productive defensive training session? You can access the entire course for $1 here.

What is a helpful Baseball infield tip?

You have two options to develop a Gold Glove.

1. Understand the various hops off the bat, know the speed of the runner, and develop consistent arm-stroke that's effortless and repeatable, while mastering your footwork.

2. Buy Gold Spray Paint.

How do you structure a youth infield drill practice sequence?

Structuring a youth baseball practice involves planning and organizing various activities to develop the skills of young players. Here is a sample structure for a typical youth baseball practice:

  1. Warm-up: Start the practice with a 10-15 minute warm-up session. This can include light jogging, stretching, throwing, and catching. This helps the players loosen up and prepare their bodies for the rest of the practice.
  2. Drills: Set up various drills that focus on specific skills such as fielding, throwing, catching, hitting, and baserunning. These drills should be age-appropriate and challenge the players to improve their skills.
  3. Scrimmage: Set up a scrimmage game to allow players to apply the skills they've learned during the drills. Divide the players into teams and let them play a modified game with specific rules and limitations.
  4. Cool-down: End the practice with a cool-down period where players can stretch and reflect on the skills they've learned during the practice.

Overall, it's important to keep the practice fun and engaging for young players. Incorporate different types of drills and games to keep them interested and motivated. 

Additionally, make sure to provide positive feedback and encouragement to the players to build their confidence and love for the game.

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