I’ve said it before here on the blog, but why not say it again — I played shortstop all through Little League and then into High School. It’s a fun position. It’s also one that comes with a lot of responsibility. I’ll tell you a quick story…
I was coaching a Fall Ball game this past year, and the kid playing shortstop, one of the best players in the league, was on the other team. I had coached him in the Spring, so I knew him pretty well. I’m probably “that guy” that everyone loves to hate, but I do encourage my faster kids to hop off the base after every pitch in case of an errant throw back to the pitcher. And then I tell them to run. 😉
Well, I found myself coaching third, and my son was on the base. Lo and behold, he pops off the bag after a pitch, the catcher overthrows the pitcher, the ball dribbles out to short, where my former player wasn’t paying attention, and I very quietly told my son, “Go! Go! Go!” (Yeah, I used exclamation points there, but on the field at the time, it was more of a whisper.)
Long story short, my son was three quarters of the way home before anyone knew what was happening. And we stole a run. So what’s the point? Shortstops really are the backbone of that infield. If they fall asleep, the whole team tends to fall asleep. It took that shortstop a few plays before he stopped figuratively kicking himself over the lapse in concentration, but I went up to him and gave him a pat on the back between innings. He recovered. 😉
But as shortstops, we never want to put ourselves in that position. We have to be on all the time! We’re like parents watching after a child just entering the “terrible twos.” We’re on every pitch, every throw, every everything. And that’s just the mental part. The physical part, learning how to field the position, and practicing relentlessly, is what it takes to become a black hole for ground balls out there.Little League Shortstop Drills...with Video! ==>> http://generationbaseball.com Click To Tweet
Now, looking back on when I was growing up, I have a hard time remembering a single drill that we did to improve our physical play. We took a LOT of infield, but specific drills, nah. My coach used to ride me on getting out for the cutoff quick enough, and he’d hit a ton of balls into the outfield to drive that home, but we didn’t have YouTube (this site :)) and other sources of information constantly pouring out a mountain of training and skills videos. But now we do. So we’re lucky.
And so, on this first “Two for Tuesday” of the new year, I give you a four-part series on some fundamentals of playing the shortstop position. Enjoy! And be better today than you were yesterday…