Great footwork is imperative for you to be a quick and efficient infielder, so you can cleanly field each ground ball and be in position to make a play. One of the drills to improve your footwork is called the three-cone drill.
Draw a straight line in the dirt, approximately 10 feet in length, from your starting position toward home plate. The line simulates the angle that the ground ball is coming toward you. Next, put a cone at the top of the line. Behind this cone is where you will get into your ready position.
Next, put one cone at a 45-degree angle, close to the first cone. If you’re right-handed, the cone goes on the right side of the line while facing towards home plate. If you’re left-handed, the cone goes on the left side of the line while facing towards home plate. This cone simulates your first step, creating an area where you can read the speed of the ball and the hop.
The final cone goes in the area where you may field the ball. This is generally at the other end of the line, where you will break down into fielding position.
Start off in a ready position behind the first cone. Simulate the ball being hit, taking your first step in the direction of the second cone. Walk through it to start, creating a little bit of an angle where you can read the hop. As you approach the final cone, you should finish right foot, left foot into a good fielding position. If you are a left-handed player, you would finish left foot, right foot.
As you start to get the hang of these movements showing effective footwork, you should try and go a little bit faster. You will move quicker as you go from your ready position to the first 45-degree step, followed by right, left (or left, right) into a good fielding position. Continue to speed it up so that it starts to be a little bit closer to game speed. You will start to feel the rhythm that you want to use every time you field a ground ball. You can add in a rolled ball to advance the drill which will help you read the speed of the ball and the hop. Continue to focus on your footwork to get into good fielding position.
The three-cone drill will help improve your footwork and ultimately help you make more plays.
Try the five-cone drill next to help with finishing the play.