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The Top 11 Outfield Drills For Youth Baseball Players

Some of the most exciting plays in baseball happen in the outfield. Whether that’s a diving catch, robbing a home run, or just being able to cover a lot of ground when catching a fly ball – playing outfield in baseball is no small task. That is why it is important to practice outfield drills whenever you have the opportunity.

As someone who has been an outfielder for most of his life, I have experienced plenty of outfield drills so I wanted to share some of the top outfield drills in baseball that youth players can do to get better at catching, throwing, and running.

Top 11 Outfield Drills for Youth Baseball Players

Catching Fly Balls With Proper Form

Right fielder in blue uniform waiting to catch a fly ball while teammate backs him up

To properly catch a fly ball, players need to first position themselves underneath the baseball and then they have to prepare their body for the throw at the same time. Ideally, the back foot of the player will be moving forward at the same time they are catching the ball.

Being prepared to catch fly balls this way will allow the outfielder to catch the ball, perform a crow hop, and get the ball into the infield as quickly as possible.

To perform this drill:

  • Have someone hit standard fly balls to a player in the outfield
  • When the ball is heading towards the player they will first run to the ball where will be landing
  • To take proper form, the leg on the glove-side of the body will be in front of the other leg
  • As the player is catching the ball, their back leg moves forward which is the beginning motion of their crow hop
  • After catching the ball the player will complete the crow hop and throw the ball to the cut-off man

The goal of the drill: outfielders should know how to catch the ball and get the ball back into the infield as quickly as possible. By setting up underneath a fly ball correctly, outfielders will prevent runners from advancing to the next base.

This form takes practice though so players will need to catch a lot of fly balls to ensure they can get the ball into the infield as quickly as possible.

Video example of drill:

Fly Ball Communication Drill for Outfielders

Communication is a big part of playing in the outfield. To be an outfielder you must understand the order of who can call off other players and be able to react in real-time. Players who fail to communicate run the risk of running into each other at full-speed while chasing down a fly ball (which I’ve been guilty of).

To perform this drill:

  • Two players will be set up in the outfield, with plenty of space between them
  • A coach/player will hit fly balls in between the two outfielders. Ideally, both players would be able to catch this fly ball.
  • Both outfielders will try to catch the ball, but they must communicate with each other so they know who is catching the ball and who is going to be the back-up

The goal of drill: outfielders need to communicate with each other. By effectively communicating with each other, players will avoid collisions in the outfield and be able to get the out at the same time.

Video example of drill:

Fly Ball Angle Drill for Outfielders

To be an effective outfielder, players must know how to take the correct path to the ball. The Fly Ball Angel Drill is a great drill for outfielders to practice how to turn their bodies to run and catch a ball that is hit over their heads.

To perform this drill:

  • Set up three cones in a triangle
  • The outfielder starts at the front cone
  • The partner who is throwing the ball will point towards one of the cones
  • The outfielder will start running towards that cone while still keeping an eye on the ball
  • A partner tosses a fly ball once the outfielder reaches one of the cones
  • The outfielder catches the ball

The goal of the drill: outfielders need to practice turning and running toward catchable balls that are hit over their head. They’ll need to focus on turning correctly to get a good angle on the ball while still turning their head so they can see the fly ball.

Video example of drill:

Shading the Sun Drill for Outfielders

One inevitable obstacle that all outfielders will face is the dreaded sun. While there are some things that can help outfielders see better (like sunglasses and eye black) practicing catching while the sun is behind the ball is a skill that must be developed.

To perform this drill:

  • Have the outfielder line up in a grassy area where they will be facing the sun
  • A partner will throw a fly ball towards the outfielder
  • The outfielder will need to shade the sun with either their glove or their free hand
  • The outfielder will catch the fly ball

The goal of this drill: all outfielders will have to play with the sun in their face so they need to practice how to properly shade the sun when the ball is hit to them. This is a simple drill that can be practiced over and over again until the outfielder is comfortable catching the ball while shading the sun.

Video example of drill:

Crow Hop Drill for Outfielders

One of the throws that all outfielders need to master is the crow hop. A crow hop in baseball allows players to generate momentum toward their intended target which helps generate distance and velocity behind the player’s throw.

To perform this drill:

  • The outfielder positions themselves with their glove-side foot in front
  • When ready, the outfielder will hop towards their target by moving their back leg forward
  • Then the player will stride forward with their glove-side leg
  • When their glove-side leg hits the ground, the outfielder will throw the ball to their target

The goal of this drill: outfielders will be throwing over much longer distances than other players on the field so they need to learn how to gain velocity and distance on their throws while still having accurate throws. Throwing over long distances with the crow hop will also help to strengthen a player’s throwing arm.

Video example of drill:

Diving Drill for Outfielders

Another play that will inevitably happen to all outfielders is a diving play. Outfielders who have never performed a diving play before might be intimidated by diving for a ball so the best way to prepare for a diving catch in a game is by practicing it before hand.

To perform this drill:

  • You’ll need to be able to dive for line drives so either have a partner who will hit you line drives or get a pitching machine that will throw you line drives
  • Once the ball is in the air the outfielder will run towards the ball and make a diving play

Another way to perform this drill:

  • Have a partner toss short fly balls that are just out of reach for an outfielder
  • When the ball is in the air the outfielder will run towards the ball and dive for the catch

The goal of this drill: all outfielders need to know how to dive for a fly ball, otherwise they will get caught in-between a large bounce or they could get injured. A big part of making a diving catch is having the confidence that you will catch the ball and the best way to gain that confidence is to practice diving for fly balls.

Video example of drill:

Find the Fence Drill for Outfielders

The most exciting play an outfielder can make is when they rob a homerun, but an issue that a lot of players have is knowing how to find the fence while also watching the ball in mid-air. It would be very easy for outfielders to keep running and crash directly into the fence – this is why practicing to find the fence is so important for outfielders.

To perform this drill:

  • The outfielder takes a starting position in front of a fence; roughly 20-30 feet in front of the fence will work
  • A partner will toss a short fly ball as close to the fence as possible
  • While the ball is in air, the outfielder needs to turn to run for the ball while keeping one hand out to feel for the fence (practice using the glove to feel for the fence and then by using the free-hand)
  • While the outfielder is feeling for the fence they will catch the fly ball to make an out

The goal of this drill: all outfielders will eventually have a play happen where a fly ball is hit to the fence so all outfielders need to be prepared by practicing how to find the fence while also tracking down the ball. The alternative to not finding the fence is crashing into the fence (and we would like to avoid that if possible).

Video example of drill:

Cutoff Drills for Outfielders

Once a ball is caught by an outfielder, the next step is to get the ball into the infield as quick as possible. The best way to get the ball quickly back into the infield is by making a perfect throw to your cutoff man.

To perform this drill:

  • A partner will hit fly balls to the outfielder
  • Once the outfielder catches the ball, they will throw the ball to their designated cutoff man. The ideal spot for an outfielder to throw the ball is at the head of the cutoff man and towards the cutoff man’s glove-side.
  • To keep players thinking, the coach can call out what the situation is and the cutoff man can adjust their position accordingly

The goal of this drill: outfielders should be practicing their correct form when catching the ball so they can get the ball into their cutoff man as quickly as possible. Outfielders should also focus on accuracy of their throws.

Video example of drill:

Fly Ball Adjustment Drill for Outfielders

As an outfielder, there will be fly balls that you either miss-read off the bat or have the wind take the fly ball to a different place than you originally thought. When one of these scenarios occur, outfielders need to be able to make and adjustment in order to catch the ball.

To perform this drill:

  • The outfielder will take their starting position at a cone
  • A partner will start the drill by pointing at a 45-degree angle to either the right or left side
  • When the partner points the outfielder takes off in that direction, looking for the ball to be thrown
  • The partner then throws a short fly ball towards the other side of the outfielder (forcing the outfielder to head the opposite way)
  • The outfielder will need to adjust by flipping their head to the other side of their body and rotating their body to get in position to catch the ball (see the video below for a visual explanation)

The goal of this drill: at some point in an outfielder’s career they will have to adjust to a fly ball for one reason or another. For these scenarios, it’s critical that the outfielder has practiced adjusting to fly balls over and over again so they can effectively find the ball after turning their head to the other side of their body.

Video example of drill:

Do or Die Drill for Outfielders

For a lot of outfielders, throwing out a runner at home will be the most memorable moment from a game. So practicing throwing out runners at home will prepare you for the next time someone hits a potential game-winning base hit to you while you are in the outfield.

To perform this drill:

  • The outfielder will take their normal position in the outfield
  • A partner will hit a ground ball to the outfielder
  • The outfielder must properly field the ground ball by placing their glove on the ground with their glove-side foot just behind their glove
  • Once the outfielder has fielded the throw, they are in the correct position to perform a crow-hop and throw the runner out at home

The goal of this drill: this is a situational drill where there is a runner who is trying to score off of a base hit. The outfielder needs to make a hard and accurate throw to the plate so having lots of practice will help when this situation comes up in a game.

Video example of drill:

Robbing a Home Run Drill for Outfielders

Robbing a home run will happen very rarely for outfielders so this drill is more of a fun way to end a practice session. However, for those rare instances where it does occur, you’ll want to be ready.

To perform this drill:

  • The outfielder will line up in the outfield about 20-30 feet in front of the fence
  • A partner will throw a fly ball so it will land just on the other side of the fence
  • When the ball is in the air, the outfielder will run towards the fence and find the fence by placing their hand out
  • When the outfielder gets to the fence, they will jump up and rob the home run

The goal of this drill: even though it is unlikely for outfielders to rob a home run, this drill still helps outfielders practice finding the fence. This drill also provides a lot of entertainment value for outfielders and is a great way to end a practice.

Video example of drill:

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Steve Nelson

I'm the owner of Baseball Training World. I live in Denver, Colorado and I enjoy playing baseball in an adult baseball team in the surrounding area. Read more about Steve Nelson.