The Three Step Approach

I like to teach my players the three step approach to getting mentally focused and prepared on defense. I coach my team to do the same thing before every pitch. If you can teach this method, you will have a good defensive team.

When the pitcher has received the ball back and the play is over (lead runner has been "looked back"), I tell my defensive players that this is the time to take 3 strides back from their starting positions. When they get there, they should take a deep breath, let it out and relax the shoulders.
They should now take the first stride back toward the starting position and pause. They should analize the current situation. Who many runners are on and what base are they on? How many outs are there? What is the count on the batter?

Now they should take the second stride back toward their starting position and pause. She should tell herself, Based on the current situation, if the ball gets hit to me, this is what I should do. Now she has visulized in her mind the proper response for the situation and is ready to go.

Just before the third and final stride, she should take one more breath, exhale and relax the shoulders one more time. Now as the pitcher starts her motion, the defensive players should take the final stride back to their starting positions. She should step right into an athletic ready position and be focused on the ball as it approaches the strike zone.

This simple process will have your team focused and knowing what to do on every pitch. If they are focused and ready every pitch, how could you not have a great defense?

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