Top 5 Infield Games

Baseball and Fastpitch Softball

 

This Top 5 Infield Games article is excerpted from our new book Skill-Building Competitions (for baseball and fastpitch softball) coming June 1, 2021. Please check back then!

 

For recommendations on how and when to use various training methods (dry, heavy bag, pylos, tee, toss, live, machine, etc.) and to shop for practical and durable training equipment, click on the link Hitting Training Methods and Aids.

 

Note that the products discussed on our site have been used in our training of hitters with great success. At no extra cost to you, things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

 

Infield Games For All Ages

“Gamifying” creates an element of fun. The competition can be with themselves by trying to beat their record, or between teammates. Coaches, players, and parents can use their imagination to turn any drill into a competition.

Focus and learning amplify when you gamify.

 

Infield Games Add Performance Pressure

The task is relatively easy, but there is pressure to succeed. Stress can come from coaches, teammates, and self.

 

#1 Infield Game – “Guts”

“Guts” is the infield game teams never tire of playing – a great way to end the practice whether indoor or outdoor. Terrific for outfielders too!

Equipment:

4 Cones

Indoor – Softie Balls; Outdoor – Softie or Regulation Balls.

Click the links to shop for softie baseballs or softie softballs – excellent for indoor use or with fielders still gaining confidence.

Setup and Constraints:

Divide team in half. To be fair, split infielders between both teams. Two cones act as goalposts for each end of the field. The length of the field depends on the age group. The shorter the field, the higher the difficulty. A typical length is between 60′ and 100′.

Adjust the width of the goals (cones) to the number of players. The more the players on each team, the wider the field. The wider the field, the larger the required range to get to the ball for each fielder allowing more room for the ground ball to squeeze through. With 4-6 players per team, 30′ to 50′ width is a good starting point.

Make a mark for the middle of the field. Both teams take half of the field, facing each other, and remain on their side of the field.

Rules:

  1. Each team’s thrower throws from behind the line made by their side’s goalposts.
  2. The thrower tries to throw a hard ground ball toward the opponent’s goal aiming between defenders or towards the corners.
  3. Alternate each team throwing and defending.
  4. If the other team catches the ball in the air, the thrower is out.
  5. If the ball hits the ground before the opponent’s goal and goes through the goals, the fielder closest to the ball on the other team is out. Each team cooperates and strategizes to protect their goal.
  6. If the ball is successfully stopped before going through that team’s goal, the infielder who successfully stopped the ball (showing a lot of “guts”) becomes their team’s next thrower.
  7. As team members are put out, gradually reduce the width of the cones so that defenders on that team don’t have to cover too large an area (making it too easy to get the ball through the goal).
  8. When the last of a team’s players are put out, the other team wins.

 

#2 of Infield Games – “Queen” or “King” of Short Hop or Ground Ball

Simple but Fun! Players learn how to relax and perform under pressure. Indoor or outdoor.

Equipment:

2 Cones

Indoor – Softy Balls; Outdoor – Softy or Regulation Balls.

Setup and Constraints:

Two cones are placed to form a boundary constraint. All players line up along and in front of the boundary. Coaches throw short hops or ground balls (pick one). Use from 1 to 4 coaches. Each coach begins throwing at the front of the line and works player by player to the end of the line. The coach then starts back again at the front.

Rules:

  1. If a player lets a short hop or ground ball go past them and over the rearward boundary, they go to the end of the line.
  2. Set a time limit. The game is over exactly when the time limit is reached. Have a helper yell out a countdown.
  3. The king or queen is the one at the front of the line when the time limit is reached.
  4. Optional – After a winner is declared, players make two lines facing each other. The king or queen walks (grandly) between the line as players cheer.

 

#3 of Infield Games – “21 In A Row”

High pressure infield game! Outdoor or indoor (if there is room for a regulation infield).

Equipment:

4 regulation distance bases.

Indoor – Softy Balls; Outdoor – Softy or Regulation Balls.

Setup and Constraints:

Infielders take their positions. Multiple players can take each position. Optional – outfielders can run bases. A coach hits ground balls or catchable popups beginning with 3b base, then ss, pitcher, 2nd, and 1b. The coach then starts over with 3b.

Rules:

  1. Set a time limit.
  2. For an out: 1) the fielder must cleanly field the hit ball, 2) make an accurate throw to the designated base, 3) the baseperson must catch the ball, and 4) the baseperson’s foot must be touching the base for a force or make a quick tag out.
  3. 21 outs in a row. If there is an error in any one of the above four steps, the team starts over.
  4. If the team successfully completes 21 outs in a row before the time limit, establish a reward. For example, the whole team gets to skip running laps around the bases.

 

#4 of Infield Games – “Square Toss Race”

While a favorite and fun infield game, this drill is primarily an effective skill-builder. Outdoor or indoor.

Equipment:

4 bases for each team – 8 bases total.

Indoor – Softy Balls; Outdoor – Softy or Regulation Balls.

Setup and Constraints:

This infield game is really six different games:

  1. Forehand Toss – Four Bases in a square 10′ to 20′ feet apart.
  2. Backhand Toss – Four Bases in a square 10′ to 20′ feet apart.
  3. Drop Knee Pivot Left – Four Bases in a square 20′ to 40′ feet apart.
  4. Drop Knee Pivot Right – Four Bases in a square 20′ to 40′ feet apart.
  5. Rock-n-fire to the Left – Four Bases in a square 40′ to 60′ feet apart.
  6. Pop Feet to the Right – Four Bases in a square 40′ to 60′ feet apart.

Rules:

  1. 4-5 players per team. 1-2 players per base. Two teams. Optional – One team on a time clock for completion of 5-10 times around the square. Try to beat the team record for the shortest time.
  2. The ball begins with one player on the first base for each team. This player rolls an easy ground ball to the player on their right (or left depending on the game) at the second base. After they roll the grounder, they follow the ball to that base.
  3. The player receiving the ground ball performs one of the six throwing skills (above) depending on the distance of the bases and the direction the ball (left or right) the ball is circling the square. The throw goes to base next in the circular motion. The thrower follows the ball to that base.
  4. The next player on the 3rd base catches the ball from the player on the 2nd base and rolls a ground ball to the 4th base and follows.
  5. The player on the 4th base throws the ball to the first base and follows.
  6. Players continue to alternate ground balls and throws, always following the ball to the next base so every player rolls a ground ball or throws every other time.
  7. The first team to move the ball all the way around the square 5 (or 10) times is the winner.
  8. If there is an error in fielding or throwing, the player at the base chases the ball and returns to the base before rolling or throwing. Play continues during this time with the other team catching up or taking the lead.

Tips:

  1. No rearward motion on forehand or backhand tosses. The tossing hand goes from the glove directly toward the target. Just as in a real game, this saves lots of time.
  2. No steps after fielding and before throwing. Striding towards the target takes time. Save the stride for long throws across the field.
  3. On drop knee pivots keep throwing motion very short – sidearm OK.
  4. Watch the ball into the glove!

 

#5 of Infield Games – “Pop Fly Competition”

A great outdoor infield/outfield game to encourage communication and cooperation.

Setup and Constraints:

Regulation Field

Coaches throw, hit, or use a pitching machine to randomly target pop flies into holes between fielders. Don’t forget pop flies to foul territory.

Two teams composed of a mixture of outfielders and infielders, each playing their position.

Rules:

  1. 5 pop flies per inning.
  2. One team is in the dugout. The other team taking pop-ups. Teams rotate after 5 pop flies.
  3. Count 1 point for each catch.
  4. The winning team has the most points after 5 innings.

 

We hope your team enjoys and improves skills with these infield games!

 

 

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