Shortstop Tips, Technique and Strategy

Technique, Strategy, and Drills for Shortstop

The best shortstops play smart. They know how to get the most out of their natural abilities, how to properly execute routine and non-routine defensive plays, how to be a team player, how to protect themselves from injury, and other things to give them an edge. A shortstop also needs to know when, what and how to communicate with the other infielders.

From the basic mechanics of a throw to advanced footwork on a double play turn, strategic positioning and more, Doug Bernier helps shortstops master their position. Click on the red links to get the step-by-step breakdown for each skill, as well as some expert shortstop tips to help you take your game to the next level

Click on the red links to get the step-by-step breakdown for each skill, as well as some advanced fielding tips to help you take your game to the next level.

Critical Skills and shortstop tips

1. Fielding Tips and InstructionNOTE:  You’ll find these first 4 sections on all infielder’s pages.   Skip down to #6 for shortstop specific tips.

Whether you want professional tips to fine-tune your game, or basic instruction on fielding mechanics, click here to learn how to consistently secure routine ground balls and make outs.

  1. The Pro Infielder’s Secret
  2. Routine Ground Balls
  3. Backhand Plays
  4. Forehand Ground Balls
  5. Plays on-the-run, and slow rollers

If you can show that you are a strong defensive player you will be wanted to be on the field when the game is on the line. Everyone loves offense, but pitching and defense win games.

2. Throwing MechanicsThrowing the ball around the infield is the second part of making plays. After we field and secure the ball we need to be able to throw it to the base that will give us an out.How to Throw a Baseball:

  1. Grip
  2. Mechanics of Throwing
  3. Feet Position, Upper Body and Feel

Being able to throw properly takes work, but with a few basics for throwing correctly you will be able to increase arm strength and accuracy – of which accuracy is more important.

3. Cut-Off fundamentals
How to be in the best position possible for taking a throw from an outfielder as a cut off man. Where the shortstop should be, and how to make the quickest, most accurate throw possible.
4. Rundowns or “Pickle”
How to do a rundown or pickle. Rundowns are when you have a base runner caught in between two bases. There are many must do’s when trying to get the runner out as quickly as possible with the least amount of throws

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Hey, before we go any further, I’d like to invite you to jump in on our free email course called “6 Secrets of elite infielders.”

After playing professionally for 16 years, I’ve learned a few secrets about becoming an elite infielder… things that most people don’t talk about. Click to join the free email course.

Positioning for Shortstop

5. Double Play Depth and other Infield Positioning
Where is double play depth, infield-in, no doubles, and other infield positioning? Situational positioning for shortstops. Includes diagrams and pro tips.
6. Bunt Play Positioning for Shortstops
Learn where to properly align yourself as the third baseman in bunting situations. Learn the different types of bunts and how to position yourself and defend them properly.
7. Relay Positioning: Part 1The shortstop’s role and positioning for balls thrown from outfield to home plate, or various cut-off situations.
8. Relay Positioning: Part 2, Double Cuts This article discusses the following: What is a double cut relay? What is the shortstop’s role in each scenario, and particularly for every ball hit to an outfielder where there is a potential play at home plate? Includes diagrams for clarity.
9. Pop Fly PrioritiesEveryone needs to know the chain of command so players won’t be fighting over who will catch a pop up – or having dangerous collisions. Visit this page to learn who the shortstop can call off and who you should defer to when a high pop fly is hit, as well as some other important protocols you will be expected to know.

Specific Skills for Shortstop

10. Double Play FeedsAs the shortstop, it helps to know how the second baseman likes to take the feed, and how you can help make the double play turns easier.
11. How to Turn a Double Play For shortstops, learn the art of working around the second base bag on a double play when a runner is trying to take you out to avoid the completion of the play. Getting two outs on one pitch can be a huge momentum shift from the offen sive team to the defensive team.
12. How to prevent the base runner from stealingFor shortstops and 2nd basemen, holding runners close to second base is a skill and an understanding between you and your pitcher. There are a few things to think about when trying to keep the runner as close to second base as possible.
13. Receiving a throw from the catcher on an attempted stolen baseBeing in position to make a tag on a runner is a basic concept that often times doesn’t get executed. This article gives shortstop tips for how to make the tag as quick as possible so you can have a better chance to get an out, and having your body in a good position to counteract a hit and run. Many times the difference between an out and safe call is milliseconds.

Strategy and Game Preparation

14. Communication and Defensive StrategiesHow to communicate with other players around the infield to let them know what pitch is coming or who is covering what base. Also, a few strategies to be in the best position to make plays and to use the field to your advantage.
15. Pregame Fielding RoutinesHaving a prepared routine that you can do everyday that will prepare you for the game. Defensive routines do the same thing as offensive routines, by using physical actions to get physically and mentally ready. Believing in yourself and trusting the work you do will go a long way.
16. Pre-game mental preparationDoing your homework before every game, to increase your awareness of what may happen throughout the game. From knowing your pitchers game plan for that night, to who can run on the other team, and knowing which hitters have certain tendencies that can be used against them during the game.
17. Know the Baseball FieldIn a game where split second decisions matter, the slope of the foul line, speed of the infield, and other such factors can dramatically change the outcome of a play. With just a little bit of preparation, you can give yourself an advantage during the game.

I hope these shortstop tips are helpful for you, and I invite you to leave feedback or questions in the comments section below.  Play hard! – Doug

Other free baseball tips from Pro Baseball Insider:

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

3 Comments

  1. Hi Doug could you talk about a shortstops role in telling the outfield how to position themselves? I hear kids say Outfield go 1, 2, 3 and 4 so if you know what that is i would love to know thanks.

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