Do I Have To Play The Outfield?
Why Do I Have To Play The Outfield? I hear that phrase so often from players on my youth baseball team. What do I tell them?
The Importance Of Playing Outfield. In so many words I tell them how important the position is. That we need 'em out there to catch fly balls, prevent balls from going all the way to fence and to stop runners from getting an extra base on throws. I tell them we need them to cheer on the pitcher and to keep the other outfielders on their toes.
And, finally, the one that wins them over, is I tell them that playing outfield is only half the game. That they can help the team tremendously at the plate by getting a hiting and getting on base.
Focus and Concentration. As a youth baseball coach it's easy to understand that the outfielders loose concentration. They start waving to their parents in the bleachers, pick of rocks, pull at the grass, etc.
A good youth baseball coaching tip idea is to keep the outfielders focused on the youth baseball game is to have a continuing dialogue with each of them during the game. Ask questions like "How many outs?, "What is the plan if the ball is hit to you?, "What base are backing up on a ground ball", etc. etc. You want them to be prepared if the ball comes there wayz
Duties of the Outfielders. At the 7 - 9 youth baseball league levels there aren't many fly balls that get hit to the outfield so it can get a little boring out there. What we like to do is get the outfielders involved by backing up, especially the right fielder. The right fielder is involved in every ball hit in the infield. We teach the right fielder to back up the throw to the first baseman from the infielders. We also have them back up throws to second base from the left fielder.
With the Center fielder, we have them backing up the throws to second base on steal attempts and throws to second base from the pitcher.
The Left fielder gets involved by backing up throws to third base as well as getting in position behind the short stop and third baseman on ground balls.
Conclusion. To some extent it is true that youth baseball coaches hide the less baseball talented kids in the outfield. But by talking to them throughout the game they won't feel ignored. And being ignored is the main reason kids don't want to play the outfield. Coaches don't make that mistake!