Coach, you have most of the fundamentals out of the way. Today it's time to focus on outfield relays and cutoffs.

First 15-20 Minutes (Warm-up)

Use the standard warm-up routine: stretching, moderate jog to a finishing sprint. Then, catching, throwing and ground-ball lines. Always stress mechanics. If the girls struggled with the 'rapid fire' drill mentioned in an earlier lesson, don't give up; keep working at it. They'll get it eventually. As always, make sure you leave plenty of room between each girl during warm-ups. Remember, you can always go back to the two or three lines with coaches tossing the ball to get an effective warm-up.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back on the field

Next 10 Minutes (Review Special Plays)

Review the special 'pink' play that you can use with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Also, review how to defend the steal when the opponent has runners on first and third with less than two outs. Remember, there are three simple variations you can run for this: Play 4, Play 5 and Play 6. The numbers correspond to the positions on the field and indicate their involvement.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back on the field.

Next 10-15 Minutes (Outfield Relays and Cut-offs)

Outfield cutoffs and how you run them depends on the arm strength of the kids and how many outfielders you're allowed to use. It's pretty simple, the shortstop takes all the cuts to the left of second base and the second baseman takes everything to the right. If there's any doubt - like a ball to dead center field, the shortstop takes charge and will go for the cut. On a ball to the gap in left-center, if the throw is going to third, the shortstop goes out about halfway between the fielder and the base. The third baseman is responsible for lining up the cutoff with the bag. She does this by telling her, 'left, left, left' or 'right, right, right.' The key for the person taking the cut is to position herself to receive the throw on her glove-hand side. That way, it's only a half turn to be in position to throw. If she takes the throw on the opposite side of the body, she has to turn completely around in order to throw.

If you're running a double cut, one outfielder chases the ball. Another outfielder slides in halfway between the ball and the shortstop or second baseman, who have gone out for the cut. On balls to right field, the shortstop serves as a cutoff option around the middle of the infield. It is the responsibility of the player playing the bag where the throw is going to let the cutoff know whether to cut and hold, or to cut 2 (cut and throw to second base) or cut 3 (cut and throw to third. ) In reality, you as the coach will make this call, but the girls need to understand this responsibility.

On cuts to home plate, you can use the pitcher or first baseman as an option in the middle of the diamond. The pitcher is convenient because she's already there. However, if you use the pitcher as a cut, your first baseman will need to back up all plays at home and you lose any backup at third. The use of the first baseman as your cut for home allows the pitcher to backup home and or third.

Coaching Point
  • Line up the cutoff. Position cutoff to catch the ball on their glove side. 

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back on the field

Remaining Time (Throwing Contest) 

Create two teams and line them up with a good distance between each player. The ball starts at the end of one line. On your command, the players throw to the next person in line, who receives the throw (on her glove-hand side), turns and throws to the next person until they reach the last person in line. Run it again, this time going up and back. Remember to rotate the girls to different spots in their line. Run it again - this time as a timed event. The team with the quickest time wins.

Finish practice by congratulating the kids for their effort on learning another skill. Give them the next practice time (or game time) and follow up with an e-mail to the parents.