So you’ve got 25 kids on your baseball team. Seven of them want to play first base, five want to be catchers and the others change their mind every day. This is when your guiding hand comes in and sets the kids straight on who is playing where and why. You have to give your team the best chance to win by putting players in their correct positions, but how do you do that?
If you’ve gotten a chance to see some of their skills on the diamond, you may have an idea of how fast one player is, how strong another’s arm is, etc.
It’s also important that you get an understanding of how well players know the game and how aware they are of situations. The process of putting every player in the right spot may take a few practices.
Here are some helpful pointers for each position:
This is the most physically demanding position on the diamond, but it might also be the most mentally demanding as well. Catchers need to block pitches in the dirt, protect the plate, call pitches, throw out runners. As well as be aware of every possible scenario on the field at all times so he can direct the defense. The catcher has to be like a second coach on the field, call the pitches and align the defense.
You really just need someone who can catch the ball consistently at first base, since that’s where most of the action happens. Flexibility and range are two of the most important attributes for the position because first basemen need to be able to scoop errant throws out of the dirt or stretch out for close plays.
Here Coach Duke Baxter, CEO and Head Coach at Zoned Sports Academy shows the first base fundamentals.
Fielding ground balls and turning double plays are two things your second baseman needs to do well. Fast reflexes, quick feet and sure instincts are three great qualities at the keystone position. There will be runners barreling toward him to break up double plays, so he can’t be intimidated by physical contact and should have good body control.
Here Coach Duke Baxter, CEO and Head Coach at Zoned Sports Academy demonstrates how to play the second base.
A fearless player, with lightning reflexes and a sure glove is exactly what you need at the hot corner. Being that most batters are right handed, your third baseman will see a lot of hard hit balls come in his direction. You need a player who will have the courage to get in front of the baseball and knock it down.
Your best defender is likely going to play shortstop. This player should be quick and athletic, and have a strong arm. There will be a lot of balls hit in his direction, so range is crucial. The best shortstops have good range to both the glove and the throwing arm side.
This is a good spot to stick a player who has a good bat, but not the best arm. Your left fielder doesn’t need to have a cannon, or have a lot of range. He just needs to be smart. Since most line drives are hit to left and left-center, your left fielder will have to make a lot of potentially game-changing decisions that will either save or cost your team runs.
If possible, the captain of your outfield should be fast, athletic and possess a strong arm, there’s a lot of ground to cover in center. If your centerfielder isn’t a burner, he will need to make up for it with good fly-ball instincts and take good first steps. Center fielders have to make timely calls on all questionable balls hit to the outfield and also back up both corner outfield positions.
There won’t be a ton of balls hit to your right fielder, since most baseball players are right handed. That being said, your right fielder should probably have the strongest arm in the outfield, if not on the team. When it’s time to throw someone out at third, you need a gun in right field.
You won’t really know who fits where until you see your players’ skills and experiment with the roster. This should be an early preseason priority. Check out our page for more tips!