Pre-Pitch Preparation for Outfielders
Outfield play demands great reflexes and quick thinking during the game. Losing focus between pitches in the outfield leads to bad jumps, fielding errors and otherwise avoidable mistakes. Whether the outfielder has just made two consecutive plays or has not had a ball hit to him in five innings, it is important to be ready for the ball at all times.
Movement and Mechanics for Outfielders
Before each pitch, the outfielder must know who is on base and to whom he will throw the ball if it is hit to him. He should know how to play the wall, where the sun is, how hard the wind is blowing and where the corners of the outfield are. An outfielder's movement should always be in the direction of where the ball is going to land, or in the direction that will allow the fielder the best possible angle for a throw to the infield.
The best outfielder communicates well with his teammates. This helps both the other outfielders and infielders to understand where each player is and whether to back up the play or go for the ball. At the same time, good communication limits collisions and ensures players' peace of mind when trying to catch the ball.
Backing Up Plays
No matter the level of baseball, errors are a big part of the game. While back-ups may not eliminate errors, they will certainly limit the number of extra bases a team gives up. The majority of back-up duties belong to the outfielders. On each ball put in play, outfielders should run to back up either the infielders or their fellow outfielders.
Throwing from the Outfield
Unlike infielders, when outfielders throw to get a runner out, they usually do not have time to throw less than full strength to their target. While making strong accurate throws is an important part of an outfielder's game, be mindful that for every step you take, the runner is taking one as well. Nothing travels faster than the ball, so while being strong and on target is important, so too is getting rid of the ball quickly.