The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Oct 10, 2014 6:00:00 AM

The BIG 5 Areas That High School Infielders Must Work On

The headline may seem simple enough. At the same time it may appear as these are the only areas of defense one should focus on. Well, I really wish it was this simple. Unfortunately playing the infield is more than just five areas,. However, the five areas that I will talk about are really the five main problem areas that the average High School infielder can get away with today, but will cost them dearly at the College level. 

Infielders that make the following five areas an absolute priority in their overall development will find the transition to the next level of defense that much easier.

  1. Playing too deep...


Topics: infielding, infielding tips, infielding errors, infield play, college baseball, high school baseball, short hops, ground ball pursuit, fielding hops, bad hops

Rick Johnston | Jun 5, 2014 9:59:31 AM

Ground Ball Pursuit...Just How Fast Should An Infielder Move?

Good infielders usually spend an inordinate amount of time working on the fundamentals of how to field a ground ball as far as their physical mechanics, footwork, glove action and making the throw. However, what is often left out is the need to work on developing the feel for how an infielder really needs to approach a ground ball. In other words, just how fast or slow should an infielder approach a ground ball. This is one of the biggest fundamental areas that often gets left out or falls by the way side when working the art of fielding ground balls

Anytime a ground ball is hit, it is generally imperative each infielder moves toward the ball at a controlled rate of speed. This type of movement or momentum achieved by the infielder helps to cut down distance of the play and also assists in the elimination of fielding balls on the bad or middle hop. The middle hop is the tweener, the hop that must be avoided at all costs. The best infielders in the game always seem to get the good hop, they have the uncanny or instinctive ability (or seemingly so - the truth is it is developed via 1000's of reps) to flow with the hop and actually find a way to control the speed of the ball with their movement and make the play seem effortless.


Topics: infielding, infielding tips, fielding instruction, fielding skills, infielding errors, fielding drills, infielding drills, infield play, short hops, ground ball pursuit, fielding hops, bad hops

Rick Johnston | Sep 24, 2013 9:20:00 AM

15 Baseball Pet Peeves Inspired By Infielders

Ok Infielders it’s your turn!

In the two previous Pet Peeve blogs the focus was on coaches and players and some of their pointless or irrational thoughts or actions on and off the diamond. This blog will be dedicated to position players, specifically the infielders and some of the unwise and sometimes ridiculous decisions they make and do that will drive any coach up the wall. Again, like many of these Pet Peeves that have been mentioned previously, lacking the thought processing for what they are doing, lacking experience or simply not ever been taught what to do can lead to these Pet Peeves never ever being changed. Each one of these Pet Peeves is and can be changed and altered, if time, thought and practice is brought into the equation. This may sound easier said than done, but the reality of it is if we as coaches want to eliminate these types of Pet Peeves then attention to detail is a necessary evil. 


Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, throwing skills, fielding skills, baseball fundamentals, throwing errors, baseball pet peeves, infielding errors

Rick Johnston | Nov 4, 2011 7:35:00 PM

The Importance of Playing First Base

Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixiera, what do they all have in common? They can all flat out hit, hit for power and are RBI machines. But, what do you not know about these guys? Since 2001 they have a combined 10 Gold Gloves between them. Not too shabby for a handful of MLB hitters who are the best of the best. They became the best because the intently worked on the finer points of first base play. Yes, it probably was their bats that got them to the big leagues and it is their bats that will afford them long, distinguished careers in the big leagues, but what separates these players from the rest is their ability to play first base day in and day out.

A day in the life of becoming a Gold Glove First Baseman does not start with the bat, it starts with the acceptance of taking to first base as your opportunity to shine at a position that is vastly underrated. Just what does it take? There are a plethora of situations that most first baseman would never consider when it comes to learning the position. One needs to be athletic and agile around the base. With this comes good feet and the ability to use the base and the surrounding to their advantage. One needs to be able to read throws and make plays on balls in the dirt on under thrown balls, this is where pick and dig work is needed on a daily basis. 


Topics: defence, infielding, infielding tips, fielding instruction, bunt defense, First Base, first baseman, first basemen, infielding errors, defensive baseball, infield play

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