For coaches taking their practices indoors before the start of baseball season, team exercises can help you make the most of your time in the gym. By involving as many players as possible, you can help ensure that athletes are getting the practice they need to better themselves for the year. Team exercises are also great for creating game-like environments with an array of moving parts and different situations. Champion Youth Baseball Coach Branndon Pezzelle shows a drill that does just that, called the Star Drill.
“The Star Drill is a great way to get everybody on the team, especially the infielders and some baserunners, all together having a great time while they’re getting better in the process,” Pezzelle says.
This team training exercise begins with infielders at each position and a baserunner at home plate. The coach will hit a ground ball to the third baseman. Upon receiving the ground ball, the infielders will throw the ball to one another in the following order:
- Third base to second base
- Second base to shortstop
- Shortstop to first base
- First base to catcher
The throw pattern is where the star drill gets its name. If you were to trace the ball’s trajectory from one position to the next, the path of the baseball creates a star shape.
Players should make these throws as crisp and quickly as possible because while they are throwing and catching, a baserunner is trying his best to make it all the way around the bases before that final throw reaches home.
“Any mistakes, any flaws are going to get that [player] home safely,” Pezzelle says. “So, we really want to focus on controlling the ball, catching with two hands, getting the ball out the glove quick and getting it to the next part of the relay.”
Once you get comfortable with the throwing pattern, you can mix up the Star Drill to add some variety to your baseball practice. Start the baserunner from another base to make it a closer race. Have the initial ground ball fielded by the shortstop or second baseman, following the same star pattern as before.
There are a number of options available for teams using this infield drill, but the one constant should always remain: have fun with it. “If you do this right a few times you’re going to have a great time, and at the same time, you’re going to create quicker infielders and quicker baserunners,” Pezzelle says.
Have a ball during your next baseball practice and get everyone involved by adding the Star Drill to your practice schedule.