Purpose

This is a great drill and will teach kids how to force a runner out at a base.  As an inexperienced T-ball coach, I would spend the majority of our infield practice working on throwing the ball to 1B.  I eventually realized that the majority of the plays, probably about 2/3, in game situations call for force outs at bases, and many of the kids were not able to get a force out, primarily because we hadn’t worked on it in practice much.  There are situations that require throwing to 1B, but they are not as often as some may think, especially in T-ball where the majority of kids run station to station.  I would guess about 90% of outs recorded in T-ball come from “field and step on your base” force outs rather than throwing outs.  This drill is also good for base-runners because it helps teach them a sense of urgency, knowing that they are “racing” the fielder to the base.

This drill is designed for T-ball age children, but can also be used for inexperienced coach pitch age players.

SetupForce-Out-Drill

  • Setup an appropriately sized infield diamond with home and 3 bases.
  • There will be 3 stations, with at least 1 coach assigned to each station.  The 3 stations are 1B, 2B and 3B.
  • Using 3 cones (1 per station), place one at home plate, another 1/3 of the way between 1B and 2B, and another 1/3 of the way between 2B and 3B.  This is where the runners will start from.
  • Divide the kids into 2 equal groups: 1 group is the fielding group and the other group is the base-running group.  You will need at least 1 fielder and 1 runner for each station.
  • Place a defensive fielder at 1B, 2B and 3B.  You can also place one at SS if you have more kids.
  • Place 1 runner at each cone between the bases.  If you have extra runner, just line them up behind home plate.
  • Position the coaches as shown in diagram: 1 at home (for 1B group), 1 near the pitching circle (for 2B group) and 1 between the pitching circle and home plate, near the 3rd base foul line (for the 3B group).

Procedure

  • When each coach says, “GO!”, the baserunner is to run to the next base as quickly as possibly.  At the same time the coach says “GO!”, he rolls the ball to the fielder.
  • The fielder is to field the ball and try to step on his base before the runner reaches the base.  The runner is to try to beat the fielder to the base.
  • After the play, the runners advance to the next cone (or back to home after reaching 3B) and the drill is done again.
  • After a few attempts for each fielder, rotate the fielders.  Continue to rotate until each fielder has worked in each group.
  • After all the fielders have done a full cycle at each base, have the fielders become base-runners and the base-runners become fielders, and start over.

Additional Notes

  • Make a big dramatic safe or out call on each play.  This one aspect is what makes it Super-Fun.  This kids love this, especially the ones that get the call going their way.  It will motivate them to try harder.
  • Coach runners to run through 1B but not to run through 2B and 3B.  When a runner does come off 2B or 3B, coach the fielders to tag them.
  • Often the kids will be in a hurry and not be able to pick up the ball successfully.  Reinforce to them to get the ball first, and then sprint to the base.
  • If you have less than 6 kids, then use fewer stations.  If you have more than 6, you can add a SS as a fielder, or have the kids double up and take turns at one or more of the positions.
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