The Outfield Assist: 3 Ways to Throw More Runners Out

Course Contents
Positioning Yourself
Attacking the Baseball
Making a Good Throw

Positioning Yourself

Part 1: Situational Positioning

  • Honestly assess you range and capabilities 
    • Not every outfielder will line up the same way, it all depends on your speed, acceleration, and reflexes 
    • A good way to line up is to look at the outfield fence and ask yourself “can I get to the fence on a routine flyball?” 
      • We are always thinking in “routine” terms because that is the ball we are expected to get
    • If you feel like you can get there, move in, if you feel like you can’t, move back 
      • This is all trial & error, so coaches allow your player to experiment with their own positioning so they can learn their limitations and strengths 
  • Understand the situation
    • The inning, score, count, hitter & even the weather can all change your positioning
      • Inning / Score: If the game is tied in the 9th with a runner on third we will play much shallower than if it were the first inning and tied, since that run means more.
      • Count: In an 0-2 or 1-2 count, oftentimes hitters are trying to defend and just make contact, in these situations playing a few steps in will give you an advantage.
      • Hitter: Some hitters can only pull the ball, shifting over to make them hit the ball the other way gives your defense a huge advantage. 
      • Weather: The direction of the wind has a massive effect on the ball. Positioning yourself more towards the direction the wind is blowing (play in if the wind is blowing in) will allow you to beat the ball to the spot more often than not.
  • Communication is key
    • Talk to your teammates between each batter and even each pitch about what you saw on the previous swing or at-bat
    • If you notice that the hitter is trying to hit the ball the other way then adjust your position, and let your neighboring outfielder know he has more room to cover on your side
    • Having a system of hand signals to direct positioning is vital 
      • Yelling “move to the left!” is confusing and disorienting 
      • Have 4 different hand gestures to signify which direction you want your players / teammates to move
  • Trust your instincts
    • You have the best perspective of the hitter’s swing, if you see a tendency don’t be afraid to move a few steps 
    • The outfield is all about getting good jumps and making the hitter beat you in a way they don’t normally feel comfortable with

If you position yourself correctly, and take a few more educated risks, you will stop runners from getting good jumps and potentially double-off more runners in the process