Playing on a baseball team is a good way to get out of the house and exercise with a group of like-minded women. But if baseball means more to you than just an occasional outing or workout, then you probably want to hone your skills year-round, no matter what the weather is like. Performing drills in a gym during the offseason, or when the weather makes outdoor play impossible, will help keep your baseball skills razor sharp.
1. Batting Tee Workout
To perform a batting tee workout in a gym, use a flat home plate replica, or trace and cut out a simulated home plate on a large sheet of paper. Place the tee on the inside front corner of the plate, with a tennis or rubber ball placed about hip high. Stand in your normal hitting position and hit the ball off the tee, while keeping the ball in fair territory. Align the plate’s nearest angled side with a line on the gym floor to represent the foul line. After at least 10 minutes, move the tee to the middle of the plate and lower the ball to the midway point between your knees and hips. Swing for 10 minutes, focusing on hitting the ball up the middle. Move the tee to the outside corner at your knees and then hit the ball to the opposite field for 10 minutes.
2. Toss ’n’ Go
Pair up with a teammate to practice catching fly balls or pop-ups over your shoulders. Toss your teammate the ball, then run back diagonally and to your right and have your partner throw a ball ahead of you. Catch and return the ball to your teammate, then repeat the drill, but run back and to your left. Keep going for several minutes, then return the favor and throw the ball over your teammate’s shoulders for several minutes.
3. Fielding Drill
To keep your defensive instincts sharp during the offseason, have your team align itself on the gym floor in their normal positions. The coach or teammate who’s hitting announces a situation, then hits a plastic or tennis ball and lets the defense react accordingly. For example, if the coach says there’s a runner on second base and one out and then hits a fly ball to center field, the outfielder should catch the ball and immediately throw to third base to prevent the runner from tagging up and advancing. The drill reminds fielders where to throw the ball in specific situations and which players should act as cutoff women when there are runners on base.
4. 1-2-3 Toe Tap Drill
For pitchers, maintaining good balance in the middle of the windup is a key to throwing strikes. To practice this skill indoors, have a catcher set up behind a replica home plate. Stand about 50 feet from the plate and then assume a stretch position. Begin the drill by twice raising your lead leg to the balance position and then immediately dropping the leg straight down, touching it lightly on the floor. Raise your leg a third time, but hold the position for about one second. You should stay balanced as your leg remains in the air. After one second, push off with your back foot and throw a fastball to the catcher.
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