If a fielder drop steps the wrong way and has to correct himself/herself and change direction on a ball hit over their head should they pivot inside ( never taking eyes off the ball) or turn outside as to not give up ground but taking eye off the ball.
I would personally recommend that the outfielder should learn not to take their eyes off the ball, especially for beginners and moderate outfielders. It is pretty difficult to refind the ball once you take your eyes off it. That being said, there are some outfielders that are pretty damn good at recovering on a ball that fools the outfielder or slices one way or the other off the bat. Jim Edmonds is a outfileder that comes to mind at being very good at doing a outside pivot on a ball that ends up over the wrong shoulder.
I would practice the easy drop step way first and then practice the difficult way where you take your eyes off the ball.
Disagree with some of this.
Originally Posted by Silver 2200
An outfielder should absolutely learn to take her eyes off the ball because there are some balls where it's necessary to catch it. When you watch the ball the whole way, you slow down (you see this a lot with receivers in football who drift for the final 10 yards and a ball lands just beyond their reach; it's because they're watching and drifting instead of running to the spot). Unless you have top-notch speed, you're not catching a ball to the gap unless you put your head down, run toward the spot, and look back to find the ball again.
An 8-year-old who has never caught a fly ball can't do this, obviously, but I think it's a fundamental skill to have for any true outfielder.
As for easy or hard, I think that depends on the player. The inside reversal with a second drop step requires a lot more athleticism, but is "easier" in that the fielder can always keep an eye on the ball. Turning around requires less athleticism, but it does require the confidence (and ability, though again I don't think it's that difficult) to be able to turn away from the ball and then find it again.
For the OP: It really depends on the ball that's hit and the situation in the game (base runners, etc). Teach both ways because both are important skills.
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I agree with both methods being important. Hard hit fly balls won't give the outfielder enough time to reverse to the inside. You just loose too much momentum. Done correctly, their eyes are only off the ball for a split second. The head should snap around very quickly and reacquire the ball while maintaining full speed. If the outfielder has been fooled and has overrun the ball then flipping around to the inside is the better way to go.
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Always train for taking your eyes off the ball. It will help players tremendously and slow down their thought process. They'll be much more calm in the field
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I just went to a USA Softball coaching clinic (even though I am not coaching a team...). Someone basically asked the same thing about the preferred way to teach kids to turn on a fly ball to outfield. The humorous response was “whatever way makes them catch the ball”.
Really her insight was that some players are more comfortable with one way vs another and that it really isn’t great to force a player in one direction.
That said it is her opinion to teach both and she does that with her outfielders. Her general advice was on ground balls, line drives and low flying balls an inside turn is preferable so you keep track of the ball. Losing site of the ball in this case is more likely to result in misplaying and extra bases. On high flying balls which can shift in the wind an outside turn is acceptable (both are technically acceptable) because you have time to recover and pick up the ball again.
So teach both and over time your outfielder will feel the right way to turn and have the experience to do either.
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Very interesting comments, Thank you guys/gals. Keeping eye on the ball is probably more old school? And I am thinking taking eye off the ball more baseball because ball is in the air much longer?
I like this comment:
"Always train for taking your eyes off the ball. It will help players tremendously and slow down their thought process. They'll be much more calm in the field."
It says to me, taking your eye off the ball and trusting that you can still make the play will build confidence/CALMNESS.
I started this thread expecting validation of keep your eyes on the ball, but I think I have been converted.
Off topic a little but it drives me nuts when they run with their glove arm raised, who runs that way. It can be a hard habit to break.
Do all outfield drills, even those that don't use a ball, with a glove on. Get them used to the drop step, running, etc. with the glove on.
Originally Posted by quincy
Also thinking of some kind of drill where they have to run from point A through point B to point C. When they hit point B, I toss the ball. The idea being that they'll run normally until they see the ball out of my hand. Then we "back up" the point where I release the ball (point B) as they get better and better at the running full speed without extending the glove part.
I had a girl who did this and it was so hard to break. She was very fast, a legitimate 2.7 as a righty, but she could cover no ground in the OF because she insisted on running with her glove extended above her head.
Originally Posted by quincy