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365 Days to Better Baseball - Judging Fly Balls

HomeBlogsJack Perconte's blog365 Days to Better Baseball - Judging Fly Balls
HomeBlogsJack Perconte's blog365 Days to Better Baseball - Judging Fly Balls
365 Days to Better Baseball - Judging Fly Balls

Wednesday Web Gem Tips Fielding fundamentals to get you on ESPN

Major League Confession

After having played professional baseball for 12 years, with some of those in the major leagues, you would think I could judge a fly ball not, or at least, not when in the outfield. I could see a ball come off the bat from the second base position and know where the ball would land, but when seeing the ball off the bat while standing in the outfield, I was amazingly clueless. Judging a fly ball is one of those things that looks so easy to do, but nothing is further from the truth. It takes a great deal of practice as everything in baseball, to judge fly balls.

 

Baseball, Outfielder, 2004, by Rick Dikeman 03... Image via Wikipedia

Why it is so difficult? First, it is not as easy as hitting groundballs to players because it takes a real knack for hitting fly balls, which many coaches do not have. Second, players tire quickly from chasing after fly balls. Third, catching fly balls off a tossed up ball is just not realistic, as fielding ground balls off a bat are. It is easy to hit groundballs that simulate game type balls, but throwing a ball up and hitting a fly ball is just not the same as having a ball come off the bat from a pitched ball.

 

With that in mind, coaches should have any player who plays outfield on the team, set up in the outfield during batting practice and play balls off the bat as in a game. Furthermore, coaches should set just the regular three players in the outfield and no more. Having outfielders play balls, using communication between them, once again, as in a game is one of the only ways to get realistic experience at judging fly balls.

 

It may be a little inconvenient because coaches will have to delay slightly between pitches to allow players to make the catch before the next pitch, but it is well worth it to give outfielders the necessary experience.

 

About Jack Perconte

After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.

All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.

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