Fastpitch Softball Fielding Drills: How To Know What To Do Before The Ball Is Hit...
If youâ€™re playing in the infield or outfield, what do you do in between pitches?
Do you stand up from your fielding position to stretch out your legs?
Do you play in the dirt with your foot?
Maybe you wave at your parents in the stands?
These are all pretty normal ways to pass that time, except perhaps waving to your parents â€“ stay focused!
For several seconds, you have before the pitcher releases the ball, you shouldnâ€™t let your mind wander or get distracted. You should be anticipating what to do if the ball is hit. But how do you do that and why does it matter?
Weâ€™ll cover that below.
How to Anticipate a Play
Brick Dust Universityâ€™s own Coach Jorge Araujo explains exactly how to prepare yourself before the ball is hit in this video. Coach Jorge calls his method I.O.U.
â€œIâ€ stands for infield. What will you do if the ball is hit to the infield?
â€œOâ€ stands for outfield. How will you react if the ball goes to the outfield?
â€œUâ€ stands for you. What should you do if the ball is hit to you?
When deciding what to do for each situation, you have a few things to take into account.
You need to know how many outs there are if there are baserunners, and how fast the runners are. If the ball is hit to you, you should know where to throw it. And if itâ€™s not hit to you, decide where to position yourself.
In the video, Coach Jorge describes the first baseman using I.O.U. with a ball hit to right field and a runner on second.
If the runner is fast, then you can assume that the right fielder will have a play at the plate.
As the first baseman, you should position yourself for 2 things. The first is as a potential cut-off for right field.
The second is to keep the runner who just got a hit from rounding first and advancing to second.
By using the I.O.U. trick, the first baseman knows exactly where to go and what to do in any situation.
Why is I.OU. Important?
It doesnâ€™t matter if you play infield, outfield, pitcher, or catcher. I.O.U. applies to everyone on the field. It also doesnâ€™t matter how many ground balls youâ€™ve fielded or routine plays youâ€™ve made in the past.
In other words, you cannot assume that your body will just know what to do and let your brain shut off. Both mechanics and strategy are integral to softball.
The split second you spend hesitating because you werenâ€™t prepared is an advantage to the other team.
Think of how many times youâ€™ve seen a player take too much time because they werenâ€™t sure where to throw the ball, and it cost their team a run. I.O.U. is important because it forces you to stay focused and make quick, decisive decisions during a play.
Fastpitch Softball Fielding Drills: How To Know What To Do Before The Ball Is Hit - Final Thoughts
How do you know what to do before the ball is hit to you?
By spending a few seconds sizing up the situation, with the I.O.U. method.
Lastly, another good way to stay sharp is to run through potential situations at practice â€“ you can never be too prepared. With training beforehand and focus during the game, youâ€™ll set yourself up for success.
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