The double play in baseball is quick and skilled. Showcasing the talents of middle infielders from both sides of the bag, a well-executed double play can be a game changer. Having that strength up the middle requires practice, however, and indoor training sessions can be a great chance to smooth out any hiccups on the transfer.
For a double play to be successful, you need to have soft hands when receiving the ball from your teammate. Be sure to catch the ball with two hands, to help ensure that the ball is in your mitt and get the ball over to first base as quickly as possible. Champion Youth Baseball Coach Branndon Pezzelle has a great drill for middle infielders that can help train these habits for game day plays that are as smooth as butter. It’s called the Double Play Soft Hands Drill.
The drill starts with the shortstop and second baseman lined up in their normal positions. A ground ball is hit to the shortstop to put the play in motion. The shortstop will field the ball and flip to the second baseman for the first out. The key component to the Double Play Soft Hands Drill is the second baseman wearing a soft hands training mitt.
“This is going to teach [the player] to use both hands when catching that pitch from the shortstop and getting the ball over to first base,” Pezzelle says on the addition of this baseball training aid.
Once the second baseman has secured the toss from the shortstop, they should work to quickly transfer the ball from the soft hands mitt and throw over to first base for the second and final out. This transition should be quick and smooth in order to beat the hustling baserunner.
BONUS PRO TIP: Be sure to switch up the roles after a few repetitions. Have the second baseman hand off the soft hands mitt so that everyone can practice their transitions at the bag.
“We want to stress that when we’re doing these double plays we’re using both hands,” Pezzelle says, “that way we can get the ball off fast and get it where it needs to be. After all, if you’re going to do a double play you have to be fast, you have to be accurate and you have to use both hands.”
Pump up your double play prowess by ironing out your fielding and transfer skills at your next baseball practice — whether it’s indoors or out. Use the Double Play Soft Hands Drill to practice those slick, sensational plays on the diamond this season.