The Double Play: A Defensive Lifesaver Drill

Posted on July 16, 2013

As baseball coaches, how many times have we seen a game’s momentum changed by a double play ending a scoring threat? On the other hand, how exciting is it to witness our team’s execution of getting two outs off a single ground ball?

The double play is an excellent way to either break up or enhance the tempo of the game. At Omaha Central High School, we have constructed a drill to isolate different positions and put infielders in game-like situations asking them to execute the double play on a ground ball.

The following is a summary of the drill we use:

Phase I:   3rd Base Execution
On the Field: 3rd Base, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners

Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 3rd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The 3rd baseman will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The second baseman will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense, focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase II:   Shortstop Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners

Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 3rd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The shortstop will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The second baseman will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense, focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase III:   2nd Base Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 2nd Base, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners

Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 2nd baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The shortstop will execute a double play with the 2nd baseman. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The shortstops will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense, focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.

Phase IV:   1st Base Execution
On the Field: Shortstops, 1st Base, and Outfielder as Baserunners

Procedure:
Coach stands at the plate with a bucket of baseballs. The above position players will be placed at their spots. Outfielders, acting as baserunners, will be in a single file line at 1st base. One outfielder will jump out and take a lead. The coach will hit ground balls to the 1st baseman. On contact, the baserunner at 1st base will advance to 2nd base at full speed. The 1st baseman will execute a double play with the shortstop. Baserunners will slide into 2nd practicing their feet first slide. The shortstop will practice their footwork on catch/throw situation and throwing through an advancing runner. The coach’s pace should be intense, focusing on multiple repetitions for the practicing infielders.


Jerry Kreber is an Assistant Baseball Coach at Omaha Central High School in Nebraska.

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