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.
[Set up for another Drop-Step example]
Watch, he is going to go to his left, and you will see him drop step.
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!
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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