Wednesdays Web Gems Tips – Can’t see, Can’t see, Got my eyes closed
I wrote a few weeks back about how it is very difficult to mimic game like fly balls in practice. As mentioned, creating game-like groundballs is easy but coach-hit fly balls on balls flipped into the air and hit by the coach with a fungo bat, do not create the same actions as balls hit in games.
Even more challenging is creating enough quality practice for outfielders indoors, when climates do not allow offseason outdoor practice.
Quality Indoor Fly Ball Drill
One drill that kids enjoy and helps create aggressive fielders on pop ups and fly balls is the following:
Players close their eyes before the coach throws the ball, in any direction, before yelling “now,” when players open their eyes, find the ball as quickly as possible, then run to catch it. Coaches can vary the timing of this call of course, as well as the distance the ball is tossed away, and up, from the eyes closed players. Using a softer ball for this drill is best with young players, of course.
The eyes closed drill creates a heightened sense of urgency in players, which is good for developing instincts, aggressiveness, awareness and necessity of a good jump on the ball, when the eyes are opened.