1. Catcher beat the buzzer
Head coach at Cal Berkeley, David Esquer, also the 2011 National Coach of the Year, uses FungoMan to test his catchers making the out at 2nd.
- Parking FungoMan as pitcher on the mound,
- Sets the timer horn to 2.42 seconds. The 2 seconds is the catcher "pop time". The extra .42 seconds is the time it takes a 85 mph pitch to reach home plate from release.
- Shoots a fastball at 85 mph, with the catcher aiming to catch the ball and deliver it to the 2nd baseman or Shortstop in under 2 sec
- Working on this time specific skill focuses on the moment the ball hits his glove to when the shortstop or second baseman receives the ball, beating out the runner
- Catcher tries to beat the buzzer...and the coach can set the time interval at his choosing
2. Pick it at 2nd
- Set the machine at homeplate,
- Middle infielders work on catching the throw from catcher to 2nd
- Practice making the tag at 2nd;
- On the lighting sequence (yellow, white, ball) make break to 2nd base on yellow,
- Straddle bag and make tag play
- Add variations to balls to add difficulty and work on picking the short hop and making tag
3. Breaking Ball Master
- Take the machine out on the mound as BP pitcher
- Simulating breaking balls, have hitters practice tracking the ball, seeing the ball travel the whole distance
- Slowing down the speed allows for hittings to practice identification and patience to wait and adjust swing
- By seeing the pitch and letting the pitch travel, players get a better sense of the strike zone and how breaking balls behave in and around it
- Recommended setting is 50 mph - This is an ideal curve ball speed for batting practice
- To see how much time hitters have to identify pitches, check out this link.
4. The Sundial
Chance Beam of Titans Sports Academy parks FungoMan 20 feet behind home plate and fires fly balls to centerfield.
- Imagining a 10-15 foot radius clock around the point of contact of the ball, he places players at 12:00 (5 reps), 3:00 (5 reps), 6:00 (5 reps), 9:00 (5 reps)
- Each players gets 5 reps in each position, practicing running to the ball, forward, backward, and laterally.
- After "running the clock" he expands the distance to 20-25 feet the players have to run to make the catch, turning this into a conditioning and diving practice as well as outfield fundamental drill
- The beauty of this drill is that infield work can safely happen simulateously, and outfielders can get true reads on the ball coming from home
- Check out the Titans Sports Academy resources here.
5. Foul poles
- Set up machine at home
- Flyballs are thrown to outfield, from left field to right field
- Player continuously runs from left foul pole line to left center, right center, and right field line making catches every 3 seconds
- 2nd round goes back from right field to left field at opposite intervals
- This drill easily becomes a conditioning and outfield range drill
It's the little things that make the difference between a good to great player, and some of these drills will help you take the right steps towards being an excellent student of the game.
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