Top Infield Drills for Youth Baseball: Skills, Safety & Gear

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Written By Sports Traders Duncan

Imagine stepping onto the diamond with your young team, the sun shining down and the smell of fresh grass in the air. You’re ready to coach, and they’re eager to learn. But where do you start? Infield drills are a cornerstone of youth baseball, essential for developing skills that players need both on and off the field.

Infield drills not only enhance agility and coordination but also build confidence and teamwork among young athletes. Whether you’re teaching the basics of fielding grounders or the nuances of turning a double play, the right drills can make a significant difference in a player’s performance and enjoyment of the game. Let’s dive into how you can transform your team’s infield abilities with some tried and true practices that keep the game fun and engaging.

Fundamental Infield Techniques Every Youth Should Learn

Building on the crucial role of infield drills in youth baseball, it’s essential that young players master foundational techniques. These skills not only boost their performance but also enhance their overall gameplay.

Proper Stance and Posture

Mastering the correct stance and posture is the first step to becoming a proficient infielder. You should start with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet. This position prepares you to move quickly in any direction. Keep your glove out in front, ready to field the ball, with your hands positioned slightly apart – this setup allows for quick adjustments and effective ball handling.

Footwork Basics

Effective footwork is paramount for an infielder’s success. Start by practicing the shuffle step, which involves a quick side-to-side movement that allows you to stay balanced while covering ground. Focus on short, quick steps that keep you light on your feet and ready to react. Additionally, work on your crossover steps to improve your range, especially when you need to field ground balls that are far to your left or right. Remember, efficient footwork can drastically reduce your response time and enhance your ability to make plays.

Best Infield Drills for Beginning Players

Building strong foundational skills is key for beginning players in youth baseball. Focusing on drills that improve their stance, posture, and footwork can significantly boost their infield performance.

Ground Ball Drills

Ground ball drills are crucial for young players to master early on. These drills help players practice and perfect the scoop and throw technique necessary for game situations.

  1. Rolling Ground Balls: Coaches roll a series of ground balls to each player, ensuring they focus on keeping their glove low to the ground and eyes on the ball. This improves reactions and accuracy.
  2. Barehand Pickup Practice: Players practice fielding the ball without their gloves. This drill enhances hand-eye coordination and quickens hand movements, critical for smoother transitions during actual plays.
  3. Two-Ball Toss: Players receive two ground balls consecutively, promoting rapid response and agility. They must field and throw each ball as quickly as possible, which is excellent for developing quick reflexes and decision-making skills.

Shuffle and Throw Drills

Shuffle and throw drills enhance a player’s ability to move and adjust their body efficiently after receiving the ball, which is an essential skill in infield plays.

  1. Lateral Shuffle Throws: Players shuffle sideways for about three yards before fielding a thrown ball and then throw it to a target. This drill reinforces the importance of footwork and balance in making a successful throw.
  2. Triangle Shuffle: Set up cones in a triangle formation. Players start at one cone, shuffle to the next to field a ball, and throw it to a designated spot. This drill not only improves agility but also focuses on accurate and strong throws after movement.
  3. Backpedal and Throw: Players start with a backpedal from the infield, receive the ball, and execute a throw. This drill mimics game-like scenarios where players must adjust their position backward and quickly transition into a throw.

Implementing these drills in training sessions will ensure young athletes develop the critical skills needed for effective infield play.

Advanced Infield Drills for Experienced Youth Players

As players progress, they’ll need to tackle more challenging infield drills that foster quick decision-making and precise execution. Here, we’ll explore advanced techniques ideal for youth players who have mastered the basics and are ready to elevate their game.

1. Feed and Pivot Practice

    • Enhance your ability to turn double plays by working on quick, accurate feeds and pivots. Set up a drill where a coach hits grounders to a shortstop who then feeds the ball to a second baseman. The focus is on developing smooth glove-to-hand transfers and fast footwork to pivot and throw to first base.

    2. Barehand Pickups for Speed

      • Incorporate barehand pickups into your double play drills to improve hand-eye coordination and reduce game-time errors. After the second baseman receives the ball, they should practice flipping it quickly to first base, using only their bare hands. This drill is particularly useful for short, fast-paced plays where time is critical.

      3. Backhand Stop and Throw

        • Focus on the backhand stop technique which involves fielding the ball on the backhand side and making a strong, accurate throw to first base. Place players along the third base line and hit balls to their backhand side, emphasizing the importance of body positioning and balance to make a successful play.

        4. Dynamic Range Extension

          • To increase range and adaptability, challenge players with drills that require them to move laterally to field backhand grounders beyond their normal reach. This not only improves their ability to make plays on difficult grounders but also boosts overall agility and defensive skills.

          Through these advanced infield drills, experienced youth players can significantly enhance their defensive capabilities, making them invaluable assets on the field.

          Fun Infield Drills to Keep Young Players Engaged

          After mastering basic and advanced infield techniques, it’s crucial to keep training sessions enjoyable and engaging for young players. Incorporating fun drills can boost their enthusiasm and help maintain their interest in baseball.

          Relay Races

          Relay races are not only exciting but also incredibly beneficial for enhancing teamwork and communication skills. Organize your players into small teams and have each team compete in a race where they need to quickly and accurately throw the ball to each other from different infield positions. You can set up bases or markers to simulate real game scenarios, such as turning a double play from second to first base. This exercise not only keeps the energy high but also improves their throwing accuracy and speed.

          Obstacle Courses

          Setting up an obstacle course with a baseball twist can greatly develop agility and quick decision-making. Design a course that includes various infield actions like ground ball pickups, quick pivots, and sprints to different positions. Use cones, tires, and soft hurdles to create challenges that players must navigate while handling the ball. Time each player as they run the course, encouraging them to beat their previous times, which fosters a sense of improvement and competition. This drill is perfect for enhancing footwork and coordination, ensuring players react swiftly during games.

          Incorporating Infield Drills into Regular Practice

          Infield drills are vital in youth baseball to continuously improve players’ skills and confidence on the field. Here’s how you can effectively integrate these exercises into regular practice sessions.

          Structured Drill Sessions

          Schedule structured drill sessions to systematically develop each player’s abilities. Start with warm-up drills like quick feet and glove work to prepare the team physically and mentally. Assign, for instance, 15-20 minutes for ground ball practices focusing on forehand and backhand stops. Introduce variations in drills that challenge the players while still reinforcing fundamental techniques. Regular repetition of these drills ensures muscle memory development and helps young athletes react instinctively during games.

          Incorporating Play and Competition

          Turn practice into a competitive yet fun experience by incorporating games that emphasize skill development. Implement drills such as the ‘Infield Scramble,’ where players compete to field balls and make accurate throws to various bases. You could also set up a points system for clean catches and quick throws to inject a playful competitive element. This method not only makes the drills more enjoyable but also teaches the kids how to perform under pressure, simulating real-game scenarios.

          Equipment and Safety Tips for Infield Drills

          To ensure your infield drills are both effective and safe, you’ll need the right gear and to follow key safety precautions. Here we’ll discuss the essential equipment and safety tips that will help your young players both perform and improve safely.

          Necessary Gear and Equipment

          When conducting infield drills, having the proper equipment is crucial to both the effectiveness of the training and the safety of the players.

          1. Gloves: Every infielder needs a high-quality baseball glove. Look for gloves that fit the player’s hand snug an specific to their position, offering both comfort and performance.
          2. Batting Helmets: While not always used, helmets should be available during drills involving live pitching or batting to protect players from accidental hits.
          3. Protective Cups: Essential for all players, regardless of age, to protect against possible injuries.
          4. Cones and Markers: Useful for setting up drill boundaries and specific field positions, these help players understand spatial configurations during training.
          5. Practice Balls: Softer than regulation baseballs, these are ideal for practice to reduce the risk of injury during intense infield drills.

          Safety Precautions to Observe

          Safety is paramount, especially with youth involved in sports. Here are the top safety tips to follow during infield drills:

          1. Proper Supervision: Always have a qualified coach or adult supervising the drills. This ensures that all activities are conducted safely and correctly.
          2. Pre-Drill Warm-Up: Encourage players to warm up and stretch adequately before starting any drills to prevent muscle strains and sprains.
          3. Use Appropriate Gear: Ensure all players are using the right gear for their position and the drills they are performing. This includes gloves, helmets, and protective cups.
          4. Regular Equipment Checks: Before each practice, check all equipment for wear and tear to ensure they are in good condition and safe for use.
          5. Educate on Proper Techniques: Teaching players the correct way to perform infield actions can significantly reduce the risk of injuries. Focus on proper stances, throwing mechanics, and fielding techniques.

          Following these guidelines, your infield drills will not only be fun and educational but also a safe environment for young players to develop their skills.


          Embracing the right infield drills can dramatically enhance your young athlete’s baseball skills. By integrating these exercises into regular practice and focusing on both the fundamentals and safety, you’re setting a solid foundation for their development. Remember the importance of making these sessions fun and competitive to keep engagement high. With the right approach and equipment, you’ll see noticeable improvements in their performance and overall love for the game.

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