Practicing your fielding technique doesn’t stop at catching and receiving the ball. In order to cash in on your efforts, you must finish each play with a strong throw on target to record the out. To strengthen your finishes, focus on your footwork and gaining momentum toward your target.
The five-cone drill can be a great infield drill to illustrate these necessary steps. The goal is to outline how you should approach an oncoming softball and prepare for a strong finish.
The five-cone drill is simple to set up and, as the name suggests, only requires five agility cones or markers. The cones will identify key waypoints in your approach. Also, the final two cones will show where your feet should land when making your exchange and throw. The cones should line up as follows:
- One cone will serve as your starting point.
- One cone angled 45 degrees to the right of your start cone. This represents the angle at which you should attack the ground ball.
- One cone 10 to 12 feet in front of your start cone. This illustrates where your fielding position should be.
- Two cones, shoulder-width apart, angled off your fielding position point. These cones indicate where your feet should land in order to gain momentum as you step and throw.
Additionally, you should draw a line in the dirt between your start and fielding position. This can help add more of a visual to where the softball will travel.
BONUS PRO TIP: To practice gaining momentum to your other side, like a first baseman throwing to third base, switch the second cone from right to left. Match your final two cones so your momentum is traveling toward your target.
When performing the five-cone drill for the first time, walk through the steps to better understand the process. Carry a softball and imitate your breakdown rather than worrying about fielding. It’s important to get this infield drill’s rhythm down before facing live-ball action.
From your start position, angle out around your second cone and begin your attack to the fielding position. Break down and field the softball, planting your right foot first, followed by your left. Then, step and throw with the same right-left rhythm and have your steps at the final two cones.
Once you become more comfortable with this rhythm, go ahead and speed up this softball drill. Gradually, you can install a slow roller into the fielding portion for a full, in-game feel.
This drill can help you work on bettering your footwork to gain momentum toward your target. Increased momentum can lead to a stronger finish and improved throwing accuracy. Use these softball tips to add a solid exclamation point to your fielding process.