Shortstop: Double Play Feeds to 2nd Base

Pro tips for shortstop double play feeds –  the underhand flip and overhand toss.  How to execute various types of double play feeds from shortstop to second base.

There are two types of feeds that will be used from the shortstop to get the ball to the second baseman to start a double play. They are an underhand flip or an overhand toss. The idea is pretty basic but there are a few ways to make your feeds quicker and easier to handle for the 2nd baseman.

Underhand Flip

Tips and instruction for shortstop - Double play feeds to second base by the shortstop

Bernier feeds the ball to second base to get the runner. This is an example of an underhand flip.

Once the ground ball is caught and secured the next step is to give it to the second baseman , who is ready to turn the double play. Here are some keys to think about.

Know your 2nd baseman – Know how your second baseman wants to turn the double play and where he wants the feed to be. Using an underhand flip should allow you to put the ball wherever he wants it to be. It is a very accurate feed when done correctly.

Automatic underhand flip – Know in your head that any ball hit at you or to your left (from your initial double play depth setup) will require a underhand flip to second base. Ground balls will dictate how far you can use this feed, but sometimes you can use this flip even if you move 1 – 2 steps to your right.

  • Step 1: Separating the Ball – Once you field the ball, take the ball in your throwing hand and separate it from your glove, where you caught it. Usually this happens below your knees.
  • Step 2: Get your glove out of the way.  Pull it behind you or up outside your left shoulder. Your goal is to give the second baseman the best view of the baseball possible and you don’t want the glove to obstruct his view.
  • Step 3: Load – Move your flipping arm back just a few inches.  Keep it  straight and only use your shoulder as a hinge point. .
  • Step 4: The Throw – Drive your right leg toward the 2nd base bag and bring your right arm through in a straight line toward the bag.  PRO TIP – Use your legs to get momentum on your flip. The more you push with your legs, the harder the ball will be tossed.
  • Step 5: Low to High – Remember the ball is still low and close to the ground, and easily visible to the second baseman. The flip needs to go from low to high. It is much easier for the receiver to catch a feed that has an upward trajectory, compared to a downward trajectory.
  • Step 6: Follow through with legs – After the ball is released from your hand, continue using your legs and walk through your target this will help keep the ball from being launched over the second baseman’s head.  PRO TIP – The closer you are to the second baseman the slower you want it to be coming out of your hand. If you are only a couple feet from him the feed almost becomes an alley oop style flip. You will flip the ball up and the 2nd baseman will go to it and get underneath it and grab it. As you get further away, the velocity can get harder.

Overhand Toss

When to use the overhand toss.  This feed is used when the shortstop a little too far for a underhand flip. Ground balls that are hit to your right (from your initial double play depth setup) will need the over hand toss as the ideal feed to the second baseman.

    • Step 1:  Separate the ball.  Once we field the ball we want to make sure we separate the ball from the glove.
    • Step 2:  Show the ball.  Immediately you want to give the 2nd baseman a good look at the ball.  Get your glove out of the way of the 2nd baseman’s visual path to the baseball.
    • Step 2:  Square up.  After we secure the baseball, take our left foot and point it towards the second base bag so our feet are in line and we are squared up to our target.
    • Step 4: Release Point.  After securing the baseball, we want to make sure the path of the toss has an upward trajectory.  Our release point of the toss is going to be higher than a underhand flip so we need to work hard to throw the ball to the receivers chest or face every time. It is much easier for him to handle.
One of the most important factors for the overhand toss is to throw from down to up. It is much easier for your 2ndbaseman to catch the ball that is traveling on a gradual incline to it rather than throw over the top and have it end up at your knees. If you can release the ball between your knee and waist height and the second baseman can catch it between chest and face height, you have made a perfect feed.
  • Step 3: The throw.  Stay as low as possible and throw the ball to 2nd base. This throw will probably be about a ¾ arm angle.  PRO TIP – If your head tilts a little to the right shoulder it will help you to get a lower arm angle without fighting too hard against your body.
  • Step 4: Follow through.  After you throw, hold your ground and don’t fall backwards. This can be a tendency but if you have a strong base your throws will be more precise and you will hold your ground better.

NOTE:  Don’t throw the ball too hard. The receiver doesn’t want to be on the defensive catching the ball, he wants the catch to just happen while he is completing the double play. You do your job and let him do his job. Just get the ball to him and let him complete the play.

I hope this article on double play feeds for shortstop is helpful, and I invite you to leave feedback or ask questions in the comments section below.  Play hard.  – Doug

Read more about shortstop specific skills

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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