The Ole Ball Game

Baseball Drills-Team Defense; Create And Work On Any Possible Situation That Can Occur In Baseball!

It is often said that pitching and defense wins championships. It is certain that they provide a team, at the very least, with the opportunity to win.

Baseball drills, team defense: If as a coach, I was only allowed to use one drill in my practices, SITUATIONS OFF A FUNGO would be that drill. It has been, currently is, and I would venture to guess always will be, the most cost effective drill ever created.

As they say, don't leave home without it!

team defense

Defensive Situations Off A Fungo

This multipurpose baseball drill for team defense is the all time standard for game situation drills, the most repetitions in the least amount of time invested, for every player on the team.

Within this totally controlled environment, a coach with a fungo is able to simulate any and all situations. While most of the emphasis is on defensive execution, base running skills and conditioning are beneficial by-products within this drill.


  1. Fungo.

  2. Baseballs.

  3. Helmets.

  4. Field with bases.

Defensive Situations Off A Fungo ~ The Drill

  • Assign a player to each of the nine positions.

  • Coach with a fungo at home plate. If additional coaches are available, disperse them evenly around the field for on the spot teaching opportunities.

  • Unassigned players get a helmet, and become the first set of base runners.

  • Coach decides what situation to start with. Easiest to start with no one on, no one out and play the situations as they develop. This drill can be regulated by a set number of innings completed before rotating players, or any way that works for your situation.

  • Coach fungos ball, players react as they would in a game, both base running and defense. Require players to communicate outs and situation to each other before each ball is hit, just as they need to in an actual game.

  • Rotate players often from base running to defensive positions. It keeps the runners fresh, everyone positive and the energy level high.

Baseball Team Defense Tips ~ From the Dugout

baseball team defense tips ~ from the dugout

This drill is a wonderful opportunity to emphasize team player communication, one of the most important elements in team defense.

By requiring the defense to communicate the outs and situation before each ball is hit, it quietly builds a working knowledge of the game for the players, one essential to success in this game.

Infielders can call out progressions, whereby the third baseman determines the speed of the batter, and subsequent runners, and communicates that to the shortstop, who does the same to the second baseman, who relays it to the first baseman.

Speed level is determined by a color call, green=fast, yellow=average, red=slow.

This communication creates an immediate focus for the defense, as well as providing information for depth of set up for infielders and outfielders. Makes constructive use of the time between pitches, where a players attention can be side tracked.

What This Drill Can Accomplish

  • Create and work on any possible situation that can occur in a game.

  • Immediate feedback, both positive and negative.

  • Opportunity to polish base running skills, such as lean ,look and stutter, rounding bases, tagging up, primary and secondary leads, and sliding.

  • Ability to freeze players in a spot and reconstruct where they should be, or point out to all players that they are correct; visual re-enforcement.

  • Evaluate players in different positions, at the same time increasing overall team line up flexibility, as well as individual versitility.

  • This drill works great even if there are no additional coaches available. One coach can run it just fine.

  • Provides opportunities to teach the rules of the game in a live, controlled situation.

  • Develops team communication skills ( you can never have too many opportunities to work on communication ).

Baseball Drills, Team Defense Variations

Variation and interest can be added by:

  • Have base runners hit their own fungo, using their regular bat.

  • Players hit ball off a tee.

  • Players hit off a coach fed soft toss.

If using one of the 3 variations above, you may want to eliminate the pitcher from the defense, as a safety measure. Another possibility is to set the pitcher up behind a safety screen, that way they safely get to work on most everything, especially backing up bases and covering first base on balls hit to the right side.

The defensive player has to be thinking: What am I going to do with the ball, when it's hit to me? He goes over that before the play, before the pitch is made.(Cal Ripken Sr.)

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