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Backup Question

Oct 11, 2010
7,474
38
Chicago, IL
DD has been playing a lot of OF, she and the other players have IMO habit of getting on top of players making the catch. Backup is useless because if it goes by primary fielder it is going by her to.

I keep telling, maybe yelling, at her to stay 20' back or so.

For OF, is there a general rule how far back you should be?
 
Nov 18, 2015
553
28
DD has been playing a lot of OF, she and the other players have IMO habit of getting on top of players making the catch. Backup is useless because if it goes by primary fielder it is going by her to.

I keep telling, maybe yelling, at her to stay 20' back or so.

For OF, is there a general rule how far back you should be?
TL/DR - it depends on how far the ball will roll!

Never really thought about it in terms of feet. While useful for IF play, where you’re either backing up a ground ball or a throw from a catcher, OF play really depends on ball flight. Thinking about how I play it - I guess I try to be “one hop away”. So a high fly ball would put me closer, a line drive that is more likely to skip past them, I’ll be further back.

I should probably add - this also depends on the teammates skill level. On higher pop ups, if there’s a chance the fielder will shy away at the last moment (think slo-pitch, D-level play), or have it tip off their glove - I’ll get as close as possible while staying out of their line of sight.


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May 24, 2013
9,772
113
So Cal
If a fly ball is possibly within their range, they should be running to the spot as aggressively as they can until they either make the catch or are called off by another fielder. I want OFs charging forward to make catches on short fly balls. Many times, this will result in two or three fielders ending up in close proximity. Hanging back and assuming someone else is going to make the play is a recipe for giving up hits that should have been outs.
 
Jun 6, 2016
876
28
Chicago
I can't tell if these are outfielders getting in each other's way or OFs running up on IFs. Let's do this separately.

If your OF is running right up the backside of an IF on a pop-up/shallow fly ball, the OF should be calling for the ball. That's her ball if she's close enough for a collision. Charge in while screaming for the ball. Then it's the IF's job to bail (gotta practice this!).

For outfielders, there are some "rules," but a lot of it can come down to familiarity with your teammates. The most important rule: CF gets whatever she can catch. You need your CF to be aggressive for this rule to work (if your CF isn't the go and get it type, put her in a corner even if she is the fastest OF). Knowing this rule, your CF should be going for a ball in the gap. Your corner OFs need to be angling to a spot behind her, sort of wherever you can expect the ball to go if the fielder isn't there. They still need to communicate. The CF still needs to call the ball (what if she loses it in the sun halfway there? Gotta call it so the corners know what to do).

Also, if you have three OFs who can all catch a routine fly ball, teach your CF to defer to the corners. Yes, technically the CF should get the ball if she can. But if they're camped under the ball, let them catch it. CF should see it and angle behind, just in case.

When you have OFs who play together enough, they should begin to work together. A lot of it will eventually be silent. I've been on quite a few teams where by the end of the season, we'd rarely call the ball. You see your teammate is a little closer to the ball or they got a better break, you defer. you get a great jump and they'll defer to you. Calling it is always good, but eventually they'll start to actually work as a team out there.

All that was fly balls. For ground balls, you have to be far enough back to be able to react to any kind of redirection or deflection. Teach them to take the same angle to the ball they would take if there was no infielder (or, for that matter, no other outfielder). If they're taking a proper angle to cut a ball off on the ground, they really shouldn't be getting that close to the primary fielder on the play.
 

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