Playing the outfield is not just about catching an occasional fly ball. The outfielders must know where the ball needs to go based on situation and then deliver the ball to that spot quickly and accurately. Let’s take a look at some Little League Coaching Tips for Situational Responsibilities of the Outfielders.

#1 Bases Empty

After a base hit to the outfield with bases empty, the outfielder will want to quickly hit the cut off. An outfielder might be tempted to make a throw straight to second base or even throw behind the runner if they round first aggressively. However, both are ill advised decisions because a bad throw and a smart base runner is a recipe for disaster.

#2 Runner on First

After a base hit to the outfield with a runner on first, provided the runner on first doesn’t try to advance to third then the outfielders will just simply hit the cutoff. If the runner on first does attempt to advance to third then there are a couple of options. The outfielder can attempt to throw the runner out or simply hit the cutoff. Hitting the cutoff will keep the runners at first & third while a throw to attempt to get the runner at third could result in runners at both second & third.It is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With less than two outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder can take a crack at throwing out the runner if they tag up and attempt to advance to second base.

#3 Runners on First & Second

After a base hit to the outfield with runners on first & second, provided the runners don’t try to advance to then the outfielders will just simply hit the cutoff. If the runners attempt to advance then there are a few options. The outfielders could still just hit the cutoff which would allow a run to score but keep runners at first & third instead of second and third. The outfielders could also attempt to throw a runner out at either third or home. Again, it is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With no outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder could let the runner advance from second to third which would then allow them to keep the runner on first base. With one out, the outfielder could gamble and try to throw out the runner advancing to third base to record an inning ending double play.

#4 Runners on First & Third

After a base hit to the outfield with runners on first & third, provided the runners don’t try to advance then the outfielders will just simply hit the cutoff. The run will score no matter what and this would keep runners at first & third instead of second & third. If the runner on first attempts to advance to third then there are a couple of options. The outfielder can attempt to throw the runner out or simply hit the cutoff. Remember, it is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With no outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder could let the runner score from third which would then allow them to keep the runner on first base. With one out, the outfielder could gamble and try to throw out the runner attempting to score to record an inning ending double play. With less than two outs, if the runner on third is the winning run then the outfield should play shallow because a deep fly ball would win the game anyway. Playing shallow gives the outfield the best possible chance of throwing the runner out at home.

#5 Runners on Second & Third

After a base hit to the outfield with runners on second & third, provided the runners don’t try to advance then the outfielders will just simply hit the cutoff. The run will score no matter what and this would keep runners at first & third instead of second & third. If the runner on second attempts to score then there are a couple of options. The outfielder can attempt to throw the runner out or simply hit the cutoff. Remember, it is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With no outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder could let the runner score from third which would then allow them to keep the runner on second base. With one out, the outfielder could gamble and try to throw out the runner attempting to score to record an inning ending double play. If both runners attempt to advance after tagging up then it will be up to the outfielder to make a decision on who to go after. With less than two outs, if the runner on third is the winning run then the outfield should play shallow because a deep fly ball would win the game anyway. Playing shallow gives the outfield the best possible chance of throwing the runner out at home.

#6 Runner on Second

After a base hit to the outfield with a runner on second , provided the runners don’t try to advance then the outfielders will just simply hit the cutoff. If the runner on second attempts to score then there are a couple of options. The outfielder can attempt to throw the runner out or simply hit the cutoff. Remember, it is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With less than two outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder can take a crack at throwing out the runner if they tag up and attempt to advance to third base.

#7 Runner on Third

After a base hit to the outfield with a runner on third, the outfielder will want to quickly hit the cut off. With less than two outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder can take a crack at throwing out the runner if they tag up and attempt to score. With less than two outs, if the runner on third is the winning run then the outfield should play shallow because a deep fly ball would win the game anyway. Playing shallow gives the outfield the best possible chance of throwing the runner out at home.

#8 Bases Loaded

After a base hit to the outfield with bases loaded, the outfielders could just hit the cutoff which would allow a run or two to score but keep runners at first & second instead of second and third. The outfielders could also attempt to throw a runner out at either third or home. Again, it is very important to keep force plays intact and especially with less than two outs. With two outs the outfielder could make a judgment call if they feel they can throw out the advancing runner for the final out. With no outs and after catching a fly ball, the outfielder could let the runner score from third which would then allow them try to keep the runners on first & second. With one out, the outfielder could gamble and try to throw out the advancing runner to record an inning ending double play. If both runners on second & third attempt to advance after tagging up then it will be up to the outfielder to make a decision on who to go after. With less than two outs, if the runner on third is the winning run then the outfield should play shallow because a deep fly ball would win the game anyway. Playing shallow gives the outfield the best possible chance of throwing the runner out at home.

#9 Balls Hit in the Infield

Outfielders must always be prepared to move on balls even when they are hit at infielders. If the ball ends up in the outfield then the outfielder must react accordingly and make a throw based on situations that have been discussed.

#10 Balls Hit to Other Outfielders

Outfielders must back up other outfielders. The outfielder must be prepared to make a play on a ball that is not necessarily “their ball.” The outfielder must react accordingly and make a throw based on situations that have been discussed.

Conclusion

Outfielders must make many decisions during a game. The decisions must be quick and sometimes they must make those decisions under a considerable amount of pressure-multiple runners could be advancing around the bases when the outfielder gets to a ball. Outfielders must practice situational play regularly in order for them to make effective decisions during games.

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