The purpose of pregame infield and outfield (In and Out) is to get your players ready for the game. For many athletes, that means hitting as many fungos as possible. In and Out is meant for the players to get a feel for the surface. This takes less time than you may think. I'm going to walk through an outfield pregame routine that will have your baseball players ready to play without having to spend 25 minutes catching ground balls and making throws.

 Have an equal number of players in all three outfield spots -- it makes things smoother when there players spread evenly throughout the field. These directions are given as if there is one person in each spot. If you have more than one in a spot, hit everyone at that spot the ball before moving on the the next step.

For steps 1 to 6, the coach will be in between second base and the pitcher's mound with a player catching incoming balls for him. All throws coming in to the coach will come from third base.

Step 1: Begin with a ground ball toward the left field line. The left fielder will have to move to his right, field the ball and make a throw to second base. The shortstop will not cut the ball.

Step 2: Hit a ground ball just to the right of the center fielder. He will move to his left, field the ball and make a throw to third base. The shortstop will be in line for a cut but will only cut the ball if the throw is off line. This play represents a single to center that a base runner is trying to go first to third on. The center fielder needs to be able to field the ground ball and make an accurate throw in order to keep that base runner at second base.

Step 3: Hit a ground ball towards the right field line. The right fielder will move to his left, field the ball and make a throw to second base. The second baseman will not cut this throw. This play represents a single down the line that the base runner is trying to stretch to a double. The right fielder needs to be able to make this throw 100 percent of the time without a cut.

Step 4: Repeat Step 1.

Step 5: Repeat Step 2.

Step 6: Hit a ground ball directly at the right fielder. The right fielder will field the ball and make a throw to third base. The shortstop will line up for a cut but will only cut if the ball is off line. This represents a runner going first to third on a single to right field.

For remaining steps the coach hitting fungos will now go to home plate.

Step 7: Hit a ground ball to left field. The left fielder will field the ball and make a throw to home plate. The third baseman will line up for a cut but will only cut if the throw is off line. The catcher will catch the ball and make a tag at the plate.

Step 8: Hit a ground ball to center field. The center fielder will field the ball and make a throw to home plate. The first baseman will line up for a cut but will only cut if the throw is off line or if he sees that it will not clear the mound. The catcher will catch the ball and make a tag at the plate.

Step 9: Hit a ground ball to right field. The right fielder will field the ball and make a throw to home plate. The first baseman will line up the throw but will only cut if the throw is off line. The catcher will catch the ball and make a tag at the plate.

 

Those are the only throws that need to be made by the outfielders. You may be asking yourself, "Why didn't the left fielder make any throws to third?" or "Why didn't the center fielder make any throws to second?" My answer to that is simple. How often do you see a left fielder throw a man out at third and how often do you see a center fielder throw a base runner out at second? There needs to be a really bad base runner for these plays for that to happen. In a ground ball to left field, no smart base runner is going to go first to third and in a ground ball to center field, no smart base runner is going to try and stretch a single into a double.

This outfield routine cannot be any more basic. That is why it works so well. The outfield has a chance to field a few ground balls and make a few throws to get ready for the game. The beauty of this is that the outfielders only need to make 3 throws each. Their arms will be fresh. This is very important when you are playing multiple games a week.

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