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Relays and Cutoff's
Again, being a baseball guy we have our ways... what is the best way for a 12u team to do relays/cutoffs
Appreciate the help in advance - thanks JD
I can talk softball all day
In the "perfect" world the cutoff person would line themselves up directly between the outfielder and their ultimate target.
I like to teach girls at that age to stand in sort of an X fashion and verbally give a cllue like "Cut, cut" or "Me, me" since the outfielder typically has their back to them. That way while they are still going for the ball and have their back to them they can make a mental note of what their target will be. The big X position gives them the biggest possible target for fast recognition.
The outfielder should try and throw the ball to the cutoff's glove side. But once the ball is in the air, the outfielders job is done, and now it is the cutoff persons job to get in position to make the ball come in on their glove side and make the catch about shoulder level and be in a good power throwing position once they make the catch. If that means the cutoff has to move sideways, forwards or backwards they better do it.
Ther are all kinds of drills that can be used for the girls to practice:
1. 3 player drill. Girls stand in a line separated by a reasonable throwing length. Girl in the middle forms X, calls for relay, starting girl makes the throw, as soon middle girl gets near the ball then the furthest player calls for the relay. When she gets the ball she spins around and girl in the middle repeats. 3-4 times there and back and then the players rotate. This same drill can be done competitively to add urgency to it once they have mastered the skill.
2. Similar type of drill but involves the whole team. Line them up at a reasonable throwing distance near the outfield fence, you may need to wrap them around along the foul fence at some point. You hollar "Go" and start a timer. After the throw gets back to the first player you stop the timer and then set a goal for improvement and keep working the drill until they complete it but within the goal time.
3. Same as #1 but you instruct the girls on the ends to purposely throw towards the girl in the middles throwing hand instead so she is forced to make movements. Or throw short. Or throw long.
Hope it helps
I agree with Dalton about the verbal cues before the outfielder gets to the ball. That way, by the time they get the ball they aren't searching. They know where their target is.
I like cuts to be in the "X" position he talked about as well. Full body facing the outfielder - hands high up in the air. Like Dalton said - big target.
Here is where we differ...
My cut is to be directly in line with the outfielder and the end base.
Therefore, I want my outfield to try to throw the ball between the raised hands of the cut. (Keeps it from being a "rainbow" throw, but also keeps it high enough to possible make it all the way while at the same time keeping it catchable so that if the cut has to cut the ball and go for a backside runner they can do that).
Having that said, it is the job of my cut person to get into a good receiving position once the outfield releases the ball. They have to move their feet and re-position their body so they are catching is glove side and are in position to make a quick transfer and throw.
People think this is too hard for girls to do. I disagree. It's the way our team was taught at age 10 and we had no problem going from squared up (
to be a target) to getting in position to receive the thrown ball in a position that would allow a quick transition/relay.
I'm a fan
i don't need technique or drills
what i'm talking about is do you use the same "plays" as baseball does... i have a book in which mike candrea's relay's and cuts are exactly the same as baseball's would be... the difference i see is softball fields gaps and centerfiield fence distances are the same as the foul lines whereas in baseball the gaps and cf fence are much deeper requiring a trail or double cut situation...
i see some teams only use the SS on hits to the left and 2b on hits to the right and they use the pitcher to cut everything deep toward the plate - a simplified version but you have no one backing up home plate or 3b
I can talk softball all day
Typically girls fields have the backstops much closer to home plate than major league fields. If the ball gets past her it will either come right back to her if she's lucky, or it will bounce and roll any odd direction making it hard for someone to be in position as a typical "backup." Of course you will pull your hair out on some plays where there are 5-6 throws on a single hit, and those don't usually end well for the fielding team. But as you pointed out the fields are also much smaller making a second cut unnecessary. Either due to arm strength at older age groups, or because the batter would typically have already crossed home at younger age groups that would need 2-3 throws because the bases are so much closer together.
Stacie - I think we agreed on the point you didn't. I just used the phrase "ultimate target" instead of "end base". Maybe I'm missing a nuansce or something.
We do as you state and F3 backs up the catcher. It still leaves a throw to 3B without a back up but once a throw is committed to going there I would expect the pitcher to rotate and back that up even if backup means picking up a careen off the fence.
Originally Posted by jd29