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Hit the Relay

One of the most common plays that lead to errors in minor league baseball is hitting the cut off man when a ball is hit to the opposite field and a player is tagging up on either second or third base.

What you need (set up):  You should have a second baseman, shortstop and a third baseman in the infield, along with a right fielder.  A base runner will occupy second base during this drill. 

How the drill works: At first, the coach can simply give the ball to the right fielder and then signal for the play to begin. This takes the element of trying to focus on catching the ball out of the equation until the player understands the concept of hitting the cut off man.

The right fielder should be playing the ball to the cut off man (second baseman) and then the second baseman to the third baseman to try to get the tag out.

This drill can also be run with a left fielder and a base runner on third base.  Then the drill would be from the left field to the shortstop and then to home plate.  Further, you can add the extra element of catching the ball once the players understand the importance of hitting the cut off man.


Double Play Ball

The double play is one of the most exciting and effective plays in baseball. It gets a team out of a jam when they need it the most, but it takes excellent timing and a lot of practice in order to execute it effectively.

What you need (set up):  An entire infield is needed for this drill, along with a runner at first base (to start) and at home plate.

How this drill works:  The coach should hit balls to the different positions, and the players need to make the throw to second base and then turn it to first base for the double play. The runners will try to disrupt the play, and / or outrun the ball being thrown to their base.

This is the basic set up of a double play drill. However, you can add a little variation to the drill by having men on first and second (and home plate) and when the ball is hit, the players have to make the decision of whether they will take the lead runner (and double play) or if they take the easier double play and leave the lead runner.

Further variations would also include having line drives hit and caught and then throwing to the bag where a runner was. For example, you can have a man on second and when the line drive is hit, the fielder attempts to catch the ball and then make the double play at second base.

Results:  Once players realize that a double play is just a series of single outs, it won’t be as difficult to convince them they can do it.  if you go through the motions and they understand what takes place during the double play, you will see a lot more of them turned in your games.