Flipping the ball to 1st base when the pitcher is covering it.

Flips to 1st base are a defensive skill that all first basemen need to master. If you field a ground ball and find yourself too far from the first base bag to make the force out yourself, then you will need to make a short flip to the pitcher. This probably sounds easier than it is, especially if you are in a high pressure situation and the throw has to be done quickly.

There are basically two ways to accomplish this, and a few other things you can do to increase your chances of making a good flip.

Doug Bernier executes an underhand flip

Doug Bernier executes an underhand flip

1.The Underhand Flip

This is the most commonly used method, and it is the easiest for the pitcher to handle.

Executing the Underhand Flip:

  • Gather and Separate.

    After you have secured the ball, gather your feet and separate the ball from the glove. This will allow the pitcher to see the ball the whole time and not be sifting through a lot of body movement to find the ball last minute.

  • The Delivery.

    With your glove now out of the way of your flipping hand, show him the ball, swing your hand back to about a 45 degree angle (to the ground) and use your legs to deliver the ball to the pitcher.

  • Continue moving toward 1st base.

    After the ball is released from your hand, continue to walk toward the target in which you are trying to hit. This will help you flip the ball out and not up. If you stop your feet, there is a tendency to hold on to the ball too long and flip it over the pitchers head.

2.The Overhand Toss

The Overhand Toss is used when (1) If you are fielding a ball in the 3-4 hole (in between 1st and 2nd base) and it is too far to make the underhand flip; (2) If the play is tight and you don’t have time to do an underhand toss; or (3) you get stuck in an awkward angle and the overhand throw just works better.

Executing the Overhand Toss:

  • Find your target.

    After you have secured the baseball, get your sites fixed on the pitcher.

  • Use a small arm movement,

    (almost like throwing darts) to toss the ball towards your target. This will take a lot of extra movement out of what the pitcher sees and he can now get a better look at the baseball. Deliver a moderately firm toss, something that can be easily handled.

Some Tips from the Pros.

  • Get rid of the ball early.

    This will allow the pitcher to catch the ball and then look for the bag to touch. It is more difficult when you are trying to catch and touch the bag at the same time.

  • Deliver the ball with the least amount of movement possible.

    This helps the receiver to focus on the ball and not be distracted by wasteful movements, it will make the play easier.

  • Role Play.

    It may be a good idea to take a couple of feeds like you are the pitcher so you can see for yourself what makes a flip easy to handle and one more difficult. It will help you appreciate an efficient, easy to handle toss.

More Instruction and Tips for 1st Basemen

About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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