The Ole Ball Game

~ Baseball Outfield Fundamentals ~

running down a fly ball

Baseball outfield fundamentals, there is so much more involved in playing the outfield than generally meets the eye.

It is sometimes thought, by coaches, players and parents alike, that those playing the outfield are there because they are not skilled enough to play the infield.

Nothing could, or should, be further from the truth. When an infielder makes an error, there is an outfielder behind him to hold the batter to one base.

When an outfielder makes an error, in most instances it turns into two bases, sometimes three. Outfield errors are truly devastating to a defense.

A good outfield is a real joy to watch. It is poetry in motion as they constantly back up plays in front of them, back up each other and communicate back and forth at all times.

Most all of this takes place a long distance from home plate, causing the true magic of it all to be lost, on most in attendance.

Baseball Outfield Fundamentals Come In Many Forms, In That Vast Expanse Of Grass Beyond The Infield Dirt!

Jason Kubel bringing one back into the park to save some runs, ball is above the wall
ball in his glove
on the way to the ground, with a big out
eyes locked on the ball
whatever it takes to get the out
run on the balls of your feet, it keeps the ball from jumping
Willing to lay yourself out is appreciated by everyone
>eyes on the ball, all the way to the ground
just another day for Gerardo Parra
outrun the ball
get behind the baseball
toughest ball for outfielder, line drive hit right at you
no catch, but it wasn't due to lack of effort
over the shoulder, on the run
caught the ball and hit the fence, all in a days work
come to play everyday
setting up to catch the ball on his throwing side
Parra hit the ground on his shoulder and arm, rolled into the fence in front of the bullpen
Up and into the ivy, ball made it to the basket.  Tremendous effort!
At the wall, waiting for the ball to come down
Long run, extended glove and slide to keep from running into fence

Baseball Outfield Fundamentals

Ready Position

While both positions shown are good, the one on the left, hands on thighs is the better of the two.

If the player's hands are on their knees, they must pick them up before they can run. If they are on their thighs, no time is lost.

While it is a small point, it provides the player with an edge, one worth taking advantage of.

Note, feet are staggered just a little, knees slightly flexed.

hands on thighs
hands on knees

Signs That Something Is Wrong In The Outfield

knees locked
hands at sides
arms crossed
ankles crossed

In the photos above, a player assuming any of the four stances will have trouble moving to a ball. When in these positions, they have lost most, if not all, of their focus.

Baseball Outfield Fundamentals ~ Tips From the Dugout

baseball outfield fundamental ~ tips from the dugout

  • On any ball that is hit, there is someplace an outfielder should be headed to. If they are not moving, they are wrong.

  • Work hard to get behind the ball so you can catch it coming into your throw.

  • Catch the ball on your throwing side, it takes less steps to throw.

  • Most essential, hit the cutoff man. If you can hit the cutoff man every time, you are an average outfielder right now.

  • Break on all balls hit, play as if there are no infielders.

  • Don't take a step until you know where the ball is going.

  • Use your glove to block the sun on fly balls.

  • Throw with distance and accuracy, don't worry so much about velocity.

Fielding Ground Ball

fielding outfield ground ball

  • Use your feet to get yourself in a position to throw.

  • Field the ball with your glove side foot forward.

  • Need to get rear end down, this is accomplished by letting your knees take it down there. Reaching down with your glove and keeping your legs straight leads to balls getting under your glove. Use those knees.

  • Ground balls to the side, get around and behind the ball, so that you are coming into the ball as you field it.

  • Around it, to it and through it!


solid throwing motion

In the picture at left, the outfielder is in a great position to throw the ball. He has stepped on line, directly at his target, is in the proper arm slot with his elbow above his shoulder.

Work on making accurate, 1 long hop throws to bases. The ball gets there quicker and is easier for the infielder to make a tag with, than a ball thrown all the way in the air.

Making The Sliding Catch

figure 4 sliding catch

Here is a catch that is sure to bring them to their feet. Sliding is not reserved only for base running.

  • Sliding to make the catch is the same as a figure 4, or pop up slide for stealing a base.

  • Note that the outfielder has his front foot up, which keeps his cleats from getting caught in the grass, preventing injuries.

  • The slide also allows the player's body to remain upright, much safer than diving headfirst for the ball.

  • Player is able to focus on tracking the baseball into the glove, securing the catch.

  • The body position allows the player to block the ball with his chest, should he commit and then not be able to make the catch. A headfirst dive can easily end up in a three base error, as the player has no body profile to block with.

Baseball Outfield Fundamentals ~ Who Has The Call On That Flyball?

the outfielder should have made this catch

Photo Bill Stanton:

  1. Center fielder has the call over all outfielders and infielders.

  2. All outfielders have the call over all infielders.

be a team within the team

Due To Their Distance From Home Plate, Outfielders Have A Greater Challenge To Maintain Mental Focus, Pitch To Pitch!

return from baseball outfield fundamentals to the ole

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Solid resources for other categories:

Baseball Resource

baseball equipment, building dreams for over 170 years, one player at a time

Louisville Sluggers. 1920's


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