A strong arm in the outfield can help boost a team to newfound success. When a ball is hit deep with runners on base, it’s up to the outfielder to make sure those baserunners stay put or risk being thrown out. Understanding where your throw needs to land and how to set yourself up for a strong toss can be the difference between an out or a run for the other team. Baseball pro Mike Trout shares some tips on how to get behind the ball and help keep runners in their place on the base paths.
Before you look to heave a rocket from the wall to get an advancing runner out, however, it helps to plan where you should be throwing. Visualizing your throw before the ball is hit to you can help you make a quick transition and toss it to the correct bag without hesitation. According to Trout, you should use the information in front of you, like where baserunners are, where the ball is hit and how the ball is hit, to help make a decision on your throwing target.
Trout also adds that communicating with your teammates in the outfield can benefit your throws. “When there are guys on base, we talk to each other before the play happens. If a ground ball comes to you, come up firing.”
After you’ve decided where your throw should land, you then need to focus on possibly the most vital step: catching the ball.
When fielding a fly ball in anticipation of a baserunner tagging up, Trout says that you want to be behind the ball a bit, with your movement going toward the infield. “You have to have momentum going into the throw,” he says. “You just can’t be flat-footed. If guys see that you’re flat-footed, even on a shallow fly ball, if they see you flat-footed and just lazily throwing the ball in, they’re going to run.”
As you come into the ball and make the transition to your throwing motion, field the ball cleanly and aim to have your throw come in low and on-point. Having a low, straight throw to the base or your cutoff man can be faster than a high, arcing toss. It can also be easier to field for your teammates.
A solid approach to the ball, as well as knowing where you’re intending to throw it, can help you control more baserunners with efficient defensive plays. Follow these tips and tricks and keep opponents wary of testing your throwing arm this baseball season.
A strong throw can be the perfect complement to an outstanding catch. Learn to climb the wall with confidence with even more tips from Mike Trout.