Position Notes

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The Last Line of Defense




 • MOVE slightly as the ball is pitched

• Make the Catch with two hands

• Throw to the correct cut-off







Some of the greatest, most exciting, thrilling plays baseball are amazing catches made by outfielders. Outfielders are the last line of defense and can save runs with catches, positioning and with accurate throws. Knowing where to throw the ball and throwing the cut-off correctly, are the most important defensive tools outfielders need to know and master.

Catching Fly Balls begins by NEVER Being FLAT FOOTED.

Move slightly as the ball is being pitched, up on the balls of your feet, to not be caught flat footed or on your heals should a fly ball be hit your way.

Run to the ball on toes and play each ball coming in on it if you can. Use TWO HANDS to catch the ball near your throwing side, about shoulder height. The glove should be kept in a vertical position, not side ways unless absolutely necessary to make the catch.

Catch the ball with your throwing foot coming down as you catch the ball. This positions you to throw the ball quicker and with more accuracy, authority and control. Use the crow hop to throw the ball directly overhand with a straight wrist. Use a four seam, overhand rotation to help keep the thrown ball in a straight line. Always hustle after the ball, circle it and get set before making the catch, following the ball completely into the glove.

Always strive to have good balance while making the catch to insure accurate throws. Always check the sun, the lights, check wind direction by throwing up a little grass to  see which way it blows. Look at the area behind the outfield grass, the warning track. Familiarize your self and adjust your eyes to pick-up the ball coming out of the hitting area. Follow the ball moment from when your pitcher throws it to when it’s hit. Slightly begin to move as the pitcher begins his motion to the plate. This gives you slight momentum and keeps you from being caught flat footed. On balls hit directly towards you. FREEZE. until you determine where the ball is. Go in or back accordingly to make the catch.

Runners on Base, if you lose a ball in the outfield. ACT like you have it. If you let the runners know you lost the ball...THEY RUN LIKE CRAZY, If they think you are going to catch it, base runners stay closer to the base, or will not advance.

The centerfielder is the leader in the Outfield and has to take charge of the outfield by talking to the leftfielder and rightfielder and back them up on fly balls and on balls hit in the gaps

The centerfielder should help direct his outfielders always.

Pointing at the ball can help other defenders find the ball.

Left Field

Most hits are usually to left field making the need for a good fielder in that position. The left fielder backs up the third base line, and balls hit by or over the shortstop. The left fielder also backs up the centerfielder when charging balls hit in the left field gap.

Right Field

Balls hit to right field are usually by left handed hitters or right handed hitters that hit “behind” the ball. That means the ball will usually go the right foul line sharply, and must be played accordingly. The right fielder also has the longest throws, to third base and home, so a strong arm is a great asset. Some of the best arms in the game are usually in right field.

Defensive Tips:

Do NOT GROUND your feet into the ground by pushing them into the grass by putting your hands on your knees with great pressure. Hands should be up in the ready position. Outfielders should charge the ball, keeping it in front of their bodies. With no one on base you can, get down on one knee if you are not sure of the hop or the turf is slick or wet to keep the ball from getting by. If you are sure of the hop, catch it in front of you, circling the ball, then come up ready to throw to the correct base or cut-off.

When runners are on base, catch ground balls on the throwing side, in front of you. do NOT look at runner while catching ball, always keeping your eyes on the rolling ball.


Always throw AHEAD/IN FRONT of base runners. Hit the cutoff infielder by throwing between the raised arms of the line up player. Always throw the relay to the glove side of the infielder trying to hit the glove with the ball.


If the player fields the ball close to the base, make a strong, straight throw directly in the air to the infielder at the base. If a longer throw is needed, the ball should be thrown on one hop to the base. Do not make the infielder catch a short hop, throw the ball low and far away from the base enough so it actually picks up speed and gives the infielder time to react, adjust and make the catch cleanly so a tag can be applied if needed.

Shoe String or diving catch

This is a very difficult catch to make cleanly so only attempt it when absolutely necessary. Keep in mind, if it gets by you, a single can easily become a triple or inside the park homerun. When attempting a standing shoe string catch, use a sweeping motion at the ball keeping it in front should the catch not be made. On diving attempts, try to keep the body in line to block the ball if missed, and make sure there will be someone backing you up before diving.

Overview: Good speed, quickness and a good throwing from any field are great assets. However, that does not mean that great outfielders have to have all those qualities. Smarts, preparation, studying and positioning can compensate where the tools may lack. Outfielders are truly the last line of defense and must take that job seriously. A good outfielder does not want anything to drop near or around their area.

Outfielders can be the difference between winning and losing on any play.