Outfield Drills: First Step Quickness with MN Twins Eric Farris


Outfield drills: The bare-hand drill with MN Twins Eric Farris

Outfield Drills video – Summary

Who’s it for?  Outfielders

What this drill is meant to accomplish?

  • Practice first step quickness / the drop step
  • Develop body control – controlling your head, eyes, breathing, etc
  • Practice running on your toes
  • Knowing your angles
  • Getting comfortable taking your eyes off the baseball

Tip for youth baseball players – If your baseball player is very young or afraid of the ball, try this outfield drill with tennis balls.  Same benefits, with less risk of getting hit in the face by a hardball.

Outfield drills Video Transcript

DB:  “Doug Bernier with ProBaseballInsider.com, we are out on the field with Eric Farris today. We are going to go through the Bare-hand Drill. We are going to talk about the importance of the first step.

What’s something important about this drill and what is it you would like to emphasize as an outfielder?”

Eric Farris:  This drill is really important as far as controlling your body, controlling your head and controlling your eyes.

When you are going back for a fly ball, that ball tends to bounce up and down on you. You really have to work on staying on your toes, controlling your breathing… everything. That way, if the ball starts bouncing you can make an easy catch.

DB:   Ok, you did talk about it inside; the importance of the Drop Step. Tell us a little about that.

Eric Farris:  The Drop Step is the first step. It gives you the angle you want to take in order to put yourself in a good position to catch the ball.

You step back, whether it is your right foot or your left foot, a nice 45-degree angle, and then you adjust. If the ball goes strait back behind you, pick your direction and then you adjust.

It’s a position you get yourself in, so if the wind is blowing or the ball ends up moving in a direction you weren’t prepared for, you can make the adjustment and still catch the ball.

DB: So we are going to first show this drill by the outfielder looking at the ball the whole time. Then we will do it, where he has to take his eyes off the ball and still make a play.

Eric Ferris: You definitely run a lot faster, when you aren’t watching the ball. So put your head down, find a spot, look up to find the ball again and catch it.

[They move into position to do the Bare-hand Drill- Bernier throws the ball and Farris runs to catch it]

Doug Bernier:  Now you notice, as he goes, he is drop- stepping first. That’s the first thing he does. Then he goes back and tries to keep his head as level as he can to keep his eyes from bouncing, and catches the ball.

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[Set up for another Drop-Step example]

Watch, he is going to go to his left, and you will see him drop step.

[Exercise starts]

I point, he’s going to go. See the drop step, and he makes the play.

Ok, now let’s change it up. He’s going to run in one direction and then we are going to throw the ball over his other shoulder, which happens sometimes. Balls are hit; they slice, they hook, they do some weird things. Sometimes they even knuckle.

So he is going to run in one direction, we are going to throw it over the other shoulder and he is going to turn around, take his eyes off the ball for a minute and still make a play.

[They run the play]

See this is a difficult play for an outfielder, just trust wise I feel like. It’s hard to trust that if you take your eyes off the ball you can still make a play.

[One more example in the other direction]

So that’s a couple variations on the Bare-hand Drill. Again, we just want to thank Eric Farris for showing us his favorite drill. What he does in preparation to play out here on the grass. It’s been a really great help, so thank you very much.

Eric Farris: Hit em hard!


Pro tips for baseball practice drills, hitting drills for pregame routine

Eric Farris, Outfielder

Says who?  

Eric Farris was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 and spent time with the Brewer’s Major League team in 2011 and 2012.  Since then Farris has played AAA baseball in the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins organizations. To learn more tips from Eric Farris click here!



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About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

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, PIT 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. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies



  1. Avatar für Josh C

    Thanks for this video, and for this site in general. Great stuff. As an adult outfielder trying to get back into the game after many years off, I’ve found I have a lot more trouble tracking fly balls than I used to. This drill will help make sure that the only mistakes I make now are related to “old man” speed :).

  2. Avatar für Paul B

    Another informative post, thank you Doug and Sarah. Our team uses many of your drills and we are better for it!

  3. Avatar für Drew Stegon

    Great drill. With younger players gloves on. This should be a daily drill for the outfield core of a team and also infielders should practice. How many times are there short pop-flys that are caught by 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and SS players where the same drop-step is necessary as our first move to the ball.

    I would like to comment that the drop-step should only be used for balls that are behind that “45 degree” drop step line. Anything in front of that line the body is more efficiently moved to the ball if a cross-step is used. (More ground is gained in the first cross step then in a drop-step – ie: stealing bases a cross step is used as the first step towards the next base, not a drop step.)

    At our high school program I run a variation of that drill and it keeps the players a little more honest during the “blind side” turn.

    We use a two ball toss. We send the player off in the first direction and toss a ball and they have to catch that ball. Just as they are about to catch the first ball I throw the second ball to the opposite direction. They can not see where that ball is going as they are concentrating on catching the first ball. Once they catch the first ball they drop it with their throwing hand (exercises quick hands into and out of glove) and then they can turn and look for and track down the second ball. This help various skills at the same time.

    We also do another drill that I see very few teams ever do. As an outfielder in my younger days (oh man was that long ago) that hardest ball for an outfielder to track coming off the bat is the hard slightly high line drive (not popped up) coming directly at the player. Most players tend to step in to that hit and then realize the ball is going to “sail” past them. Because of this we do a drill that you may have a version of that you could post for other coaches.

    We have the players in line directly in front of the coach. The coach is a little farther back for this toss because it needs to be more “line-drive” then pop up. The player breaks inward to a cone that is about 3-4 running steps in front of them. The coach waits until the player breaks toward the cone before throwing and then throws in a direction. The player has to adjust to which direction the ball is being tossed and turns accordingly. This drill helps in many areas including cutting footwork (change of direction), turning towards a ball (drop step or crossover step), running while looking over the shoulder, and eye-to-hand coordination.

    Thanks for posting the above drill. I hope coaches that need this instruction are able to find and learn.

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