The Outfield

The outfield is a large area to cover. Having fast players there makes it easier to cover the area. Positioning these players can vary a lot based on their age, the batters and wind conditions. I would keep the 8U and 10U outfielders no more than 30 feet behind the infield base lines. As the older players get stronger and can hit the ball further, you will have to adjust them out toward the fence. Keep in mind that you want them close enough to make plays on average hits. If you position them to catch the longest hits, you are going to give up a lot of outs because of fly balls dropping in front of them. A windy day greatly affects a hit ball. With the wind blowing left to right, right to left or straight in, fly balls tend to be knocked down short. Bring your athletes in accordingly. If the wind is blowing out, you can back them up a few steps but not to far. We don’t want the cheap ones falling in for hits. The outfield is big so we need to play the percentages.

The left and center fielders should be backing up the throw on attempted steals at 3rd and 2nd base respectively. The right fielder should back up 1st base on any hit to the short stop and 3rd base player and on any bunt attempt.

They is the last line of defense. Any ball that gets by them is going to result in runners advancing additional bases and possibly scoring. They should be backing up each other. They have priority over all infielders on pop flies and the center fielder has priority over all fielders including left and right field. I want my athletes going hard to get pop flies. Now, let me define a pop fly. When a pop fly hits the ground, it will not role more than 5 to 10 feet. A fielder can quickly recover and pick up a pop fly that is not caught. A fly ball that hits the ground and roles forever is not a pop fly. While catching one of these hits for the out is ideal, the players has to determine weather or not they have a good chance to catch the ball or not. If not, she may want to position herself to play it on the hop. It is better to keep it in front of her and give up a single than to miss the ball and give up a triple or home run.

Most throws going to the infield should be short, accurate throws to the cut off person. The inaccurate long throw usually leads to runners advancing and scoring. I am not saying that an they should not try to get a base runner out but they need to determine if it is possible and when it is not. It is not a good idea to throw the ball all the way to the pitcher after a play appears to be over. Use the cut off and save the arm for when you need it. I do think of the right fielder as a deep 2nd base player. The right fielder can throw a lot of hitters out at 1st base.

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