When an outfielder or infielder overthrows a relay man, a runner can advance farther, and perhaps even score. This game creates real-time situations that force outfielders and infielders to become quicker and more accurate with their throws. It also gives runners a chance to work on their ability to run bases economically by making short turns. Players will become more proficient at working on double cuts and relays and be able to recognize opportunities to stop runners from taking extra bases.
Balls, buckets, catcher’s gear
- Place buckets in the outfield gaps in right-center field and left-center field near the fence or wall.
- Have fielders at all positions.
- Other players form two lines of runners-one midway between first base and second base and the other midway between home and first.
The game begins with a runner in position midway between first base and second base and another between home and first. All fielders are in ready position at their spots on the field. A coach or extra player places a ball into an empty bucket in the gap between left and center or between right and center. As soon as the ball is put into the bucket, the outfielders near the bucket sprint to the ball as if it were an extra-base hit in the gap. One runner in each line begins running at the same time.
Outfielders retrieve the ball and make the appropriate throw called for. All players rotate into positions to either cover a base, back up a base, or serve as a relay.
Score one point for each run or extra base the runners get. Score three points for every time the defense cuts down a runner at the plate or at third base. No sliding is allowed. If the ball beats the runner score points for the defense; if the runner beats the ball to the base score a point for the offense. Runners should be aggressive and force the defense into making quick decisions about whether to let a ball through or cut it and throw to another base. Defenses should execute double relays to either third or home. Coaches should rotate players frequently from defense to offense. Give incentives to the defense for winning the contest.
- Review field coverage on extra-base hits for each position.
- Teach players to give clear oral and visual signals on relays.
- Make sure that players know to change their body alignment when the ball is in the air so that when they receive a throw, they are in position to make the next throw.