Thursday, January 19, 2012

4 Things to Know About Baseball Defense Playbook

Defense may be the more underrated factor when it comes to winning baseball. Fans often come to the park to see long home runs and brilliant offensive showings while managers start licking their chops when they have hard-throwing pitchers. However, teams that make key plays in the field and don't give their opponents extra at bats often have the best chance of winning games. Putting together a playbook for the defense helps players know what to do in all situations.
Step 1
Write down instructions to defend against the sacrifice bunt. Your third baseman and first baseman must charge the bunt while your second baseman covers first and your shortstop goes to second. All variations of all the bunts must be covered so your players know exactly where to go on each bunt. Include the backup details for outfielders. All players must react on bunt plays and your defensive playbook will provide key details.
Step 2
Compile instructions on where you want all fielders where to go on cutoff plays. When the outfielder makes a play, he has to get the ball back into the infield. If the rightfielder fields a ball off the wall with a runner on first base, the second baseman must go out into short right field to line the outfielder up and let him know where his throw must go. If the runner is attempting to score, the second baseman will be aligned with home plate to help the outfielder know where to throw. The defensive playbook will let all fielders know where to go on outfield cutoff throws.
Step 3
Print instructions on how to play the overshifted defense when the opponent's left-handed power hitter is up. This was first used against Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams because opponents wanted to cut off drives that Williams pulled and were more than willing to allow him to hit a single to the opposite field. This is a common strategy used by most teams when a pull-hitting star comes to the plate. The playbook shows where all infielders should stand for the overshifted defense.
Step 4
Write specific details for the pitcher when covering first base.The pitcher must run towards first base on any ground ball hit to the first baseman. When the first baseman has to field a hard ground ball and he is not close to the base, the pitcher must streak towards first base and take a throw from the first baseman and beat the runner to the bag. The defensive playbook shows the pitcher what route to take to the ball and how to make the play and avoid a collision.

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