Here is a fun drill we call “County Fair.” Our team of 12-year olds love it, and it gives them exposure to nearly every aspect of baseball defense.
The drill starts with 6 players:
- Third Base
- Second Base
- First Base
- Center FieldThe 5-6 remaining players feed into the center field position from left field. We usually station a coach in left field to keep the non-participants busy working on ground ball technique or turning to run down fly balls.
The drill begins with a coach at home plate hitting a ground ball to the shortstop.
- Shortstop fields the grounder and throws to 1st base
- 1st base throws 3rd base
- 3rd base fields the throw on the bag then fires to 2nd base to start a 5-4-3 double play (second baseman after throwing to first becomes a baserunner at second)
- 1st baseman then throws to the catcher in his stance behind home plate
- Catcher comes up and fires to second base as if a runner is stealing from first to second (no one is covering second)
- As the catcher fields the throw, the second baseman takes off as if he is trying to score from second on a single to center (as he rounds 3rd he flips his glove toward the dugout)
- Since no one is covering second, the ball bounds into the outfield where the center fielder make a “do-or-die” scoop and then fires the ball to home on a long hop to the catcher who blocks the plate and tries to tag the second baseman who is sliding into home.The coach then blows a whistle and the players rotate as follows:
- Second baseman/runner to left field to the end of the feeder line
- Catcher to 3rd base
- 3rd base to SS
- SS to Second base/baserunner
- First base to catcher
- 1st in line in LF becomes the center fielder
- CF sprints to first baseAs the centerfielder arrives at 1st base, the coach hits another groundball to the shortstop and the sequence begins again.
Initially, we had to shout out the destination of each throw, but after 2 or 3 reps, they were able to do it without any cues. This is a very snappy drill that really livens up our practice. We have also used it for a pregame warm-up routine. After about 15 minutes, each player will have gone through each position 2-3 times.
Randy Sullivan is coach of the Tampa Bay Vipers 12 & under Baseball Club. He also coaches in the Bloomingdale Little League in Valrico, Florida.