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Baseball Drills – Reaction Throwing

BEHIND THE DRILL:  Players of all age must learn to make decisions quickly when they catch the ball.  Young players have a difficult time getting the ball out of the glove and knowing where to throw it in advance.

SKILL LEVEL: Basic to Intermediate

DRILL TYPE:  Throwing

PURPOSE:  This drill will develop hand eye coordination while improving a players reaction time.

EQUIPMENT:  2 Tennis balls for young players, 2 Baseballs for older players and gloves

PLAYERS:  5-6 minimum but usually worked with entire team.

TIME: 10 minutes

SETUP PROCEDURE:

  1. Line up your players on a straight line about 3 feet apart. We usually use one of the outfield foul lines and have the players face into the outfield.
  2. The player closest to the infield steps out in front of the group and turns and faces them.  This player should be about 15 feet in front of them and standing in the middle of the line. This player is called being in the hot seat.
  3. The hot seat player has one ball.
  4. The player at the end of the line closest to the infield has the other ball.
  5. On the coaches command to “throw” the hot seat player throws the ball to the second player in the line as the first person in the line throws the ball to the hot seat player.
  6. The players continue to throw the ball just like this all the way down the line and then back again.  Once the ball is back to the original two players that round is over.
  7. The hot seat player goes to the end of the line, furthest from the infield and the player closest to the infield goes to the hot seat position.
  8. Repeat this until all players have participated.
  9. If you have a large team, break them up into two groups.

KEY COACHING POINTS:

  • The drill is about reaction and thinking quickly.  Players have to know where they are throwing the ball ahead of time and look to receive the ball from another player quickly.
  • Use tennis balls, especially for young players and make sure the players are not throwing the ball to hard.  The throwing should take a nice even pace.
  • Work the drill your entire season and notice how much improvement you see in the player’s reaction time and judgment.
  • While fundamentals is important this drill is less about correct throwing mechanics as it is about developing good reaction time, hand-eye coordination and judgment.

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