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How to introduce quick release into fielding/throwing mechanics

Aug 21, 2008
This forum seems a bit cold so I will try again.

I would like input on how to transition 12U kids into more of a 14U mentality in the field. Since we have worked hard on mechanics with 12Uers for so long, I seem to see good mechanics fielding/throwing but notice the girls are a bit slow in getting set and quickly releasing the throw to 1st base.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how to incorporate a quick release into fielding/throwing mechanics in order to assist in the transition of a younger player into the next age division?


Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
Yes. I introduce drills using 2 balls. Play catch with 2 balls (each partner throws one) and do line drills and throwing around the horn with 2 softballs.
Oct 8, 2008
Long Island, NY
a good drill for them is to Play a game I call "Around the Field"
Put someone at every position. Starting with pitcher they throw the ball around, c, ss, 1b, 3b, 2b, lf, cf, rf, and back to pitcher. What I do it time them and each practice they have to try and beat their high score. If they beat their high score they do not have to run sprints. This helps them develop quick accurate throws
May 7, 2008
If you can get access to the Howard Kobata DVD's, there are several drills that can be used to enhance quick exchange/quick release. They are somewhat awkward to describe, but I'll give one a try - bear with me: put the girls in two offset lines facing each other at an appropriate distance (depends on what you're doing). Starting at one end, start multiple balls up the line in a zig-zag fashion: each girl throws across to the next girl, then receives and throws, etc. Go with a full bucket of balls, then change direction so they have to receive from/throw to the other direction. Let misplayed balls go - no time to chase them. Just get all the balls up the line quickly.

Any drill you use with players in triangles, squares, circles, or 5-pointed stars can be sped up simply by adding balls. For example, we sometimes end practice or fill time gaps before games with stars/no gloves/4-5 balls in exchange - the girls love it because it's fun and they really have to focus on teamwork and handling the balls to keep them in the air.

Finally, consider doing some infield work on occasion starting runners 10-20 feet up the baseline or so when you hit fungos to infielders - they really have to bust it to make that play. Even if they don't get the runner, they get the experience of speeding up their play.

These are all very doable by 12U's, especially after they get the hang of what they're being asked to do. Also, as indicated by NYLadyCobra, competition in drills can add to speed if that's your goal, whether it's against the clock or another group, or whatever.
Jan 20, 2009
Use a stopwatch for any situation or position. Works for infielders taking grounders, Outfielders making any play or even just practicing throwing and catching (notice I did not say "playing catch").

Start the stopwatch the moment the ball hits the glove, Stop the stopwatch the moment the ball leaves the players hand. I would bet a dozen donuts that on average, the time will be about 1.5 seconds.

I will go double-or-nothing that you can get your players down to about .65 seconds.

That one-second difference is about 20 feet of baserunning (assuming 60 feet in 3 seconds) and will be the difference between getting an out by 10 feet versus a runner being safe by 10 feet.
Aug 4, 2008
KOBATA Hands down. He teaches you how to be fast, not just the drills. The DVD's do not do him justice. I only bought the DVD' after I worked with him a couple of times. INTENSE, you will come away warn out!
Dec 28, 2008
This past weekend at a camp with Bobby Simpson he demonstrated a mental concept to the girls with a STRONG object lesson:

He talked through what a good throw was ... ending answer that all agreed on was "The girl going to first is out." Period. End of story. If the girl is out, the throw was perfect.

Then he had someone running to first and demonstrated perfect fielding technique and perfect low stance release technique but the girl was safe. Perfect fielding + Perfect technique still led to safe. So the book was obviously out the window at this point.

Then he did it again and just kicked the ball with the side of his foot and never bent down to pick it up or make any throw. Ball got to the bag, first base had it before the girl arrived and was out. He said "I just made a perfect throw." Everyone argued then he went back to the definition of what a good throw was and his "kick" met the criteria.

Point to the drill/object lesson was that if you want to improve timing you as a coach will need to allow them to do whatever is necessary to improve the timing, and get them to realize that all of the mechanics training they've had were just drills to help them, but at the end of the day as others have said "the point of the throw is to get someone out" so whatever you have to including kicking the ball should be fair game to get the ball to the player on the opposite end faster. :)
Mar 2, 2009
Suffolk, VA
I agree w/ tcannizzo . I use a stop watch for "Glove to Release" time. This is especially effective for OUTFIELDERS!... additionally, emphasize "Transition speed", teach them mechanics of approaching the ball and quick feet as they secure the ball so they have ALIGNED their feet and shoulders to their throw. work on quick feet and feeds also. rolling balls to one line (one player at a time) and she moves to base she will feed to and makes clean play and feed to the base. She rotates to the base line and the receiver at the base after receiving the feed, rotates to the fielders line. (Shovels, Backhands, Darts or 3/4 throws to left and transition feet for longer throws to the right, as well as pulling away from throws to our right.)

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