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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Infielder tips for shallow fly balls

We've all seen these plays ...

  • An infielder goes out on a shallow fly ball and collides with an outfielder charging in to make the catch.    or
  • An infielder goes out, both the outfielder and infielder call for it, everyone stops, and the ball drops in between them.

Communication is always important in baseball but especially during plays like these.  Here are a couple tips for infielders to help avoid these two problems:

Give a verbal and non-verbal signal.  Sometimes it comes down to just not hearing your teammate calling for the ball.  This happens more in big, noisy stadiums at the higher levels but it can be a problem at any level.  An infielder goes back into shallow outfield, faces the infield, and calls for the ball.  Because he is facing the infield, his voice is projected away from the outfielder.  When the wind is blowing in from the outfield, this becomes even more of a problem.  To combat this, you'll see many MLB infielders use both a verbal and non-verbal signal to let the outfielders know that they are calling for the ball.  They not only yell for the ball but they will hold their arm(s) out to the side as they yell for the ball.  This gives the outfielder a chance to see and/or hear that the infielder is calling for the ball.

Run out of their vision.  When an infielder is called off by an outfielder, it is important for the infielder to run out of the outfielders line of vision.  If the outfielder is moving in and looking up at the ball he can still see the infielder in his line of vision.  Even if the infielder has conceded the play the outfielder may think the infielder is still going for the ball and may slow down or back off.  That's when the ball bounces in between them.  When called off, an infielder should run away from the play by going left or right.  This takes the infielder out of the outfielders line of sight so the outfielder clearly knows that the infielder is no longer going after the ball.

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