7 Tips for Teaching Better Outfield Footwork to Kids

Teaching Better Outfield Footwork to Kids

Good outfield footwork can make playing the outfield easier and can also increase your kids outfield coverage.

By teaching your kids proper footwork, you can decrease the number of balls that drop in for base hits.

1) It first starts with mental preparation, knowing how many outs there are and where the base-runner’s are located.

Great outfielders have speed, respectable arms, and the ability to catch or play the ball in a variety of situations, ie on the ground, pop-ups, routine fly-balls, and running catches to the side or over the head. There are individual drills for each of these physical skills. But prior to execution of a physical skill, mental preparation must take place. Just as in practicing for physical skills, players need to spend time working on this mental preparation aspect. Here are a few tips for coaches to incorporate into an outfield practice lesson plan.

2) You need to have your kids start in a good Athletic Position.

Start in an athletic position. Many times, outfielders stand up or rest their upper body weight on their knees while the pitcher delivers the pitch. These outfielders are not ready to get a good jump on the ball. Prepare yourself in much the same way as you would if you were playing in the infield. The main difference is you don’t need to be as close to the ground. Bend your knees, keep your feet shoulder width apart, bend your arms, and place them in front of you.

4) They need to be balanced when the pitch comes and then they need a good drop back step.

5) The kids should never back-peddle.

6) Make sure they take a good route to the ball.

That said, after the outfielder makes his or her step out of the ready position, the proper route on the fly ball should be a curl—or what’s sometimes referred to as a “banana route”—with the curve towards the fence, so that the player is essentially going behind the ball and circling back in on it.

7) Finally, you kids need to be in a good position when catching the ball ready to throw.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

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