with Mike Stith, founder of Team Mizuno and is the organization's Director of Player Development and College Recruitment; Head Coach for Team Mizuno's 16U Travel Team; 3x ASA National Championship Coach
Three-time ASA National Championship coach Mike Stith takes you through a live, comprehensive team defense practice that covers throwing, ground ball fielding mechanics, fly ball fielding mechanics and throwing to bases from all positions. There is very little standing around and the practice is up tempo. This usually results in a high functioning team.
Throwing - Practice starts with a team warm up followed by a throwing mechanics warm up. Throwing with correct technique is of the utmost importance, as good fundamentals at the younger ages will set up a player for future success. Coach Stith's teams do not just warm up their arms while throwing, they practice correct technique on every throw and catch. Stith also has his teams do a Four Corners Drill, which incorporates not only proper throwing technique, but also catching, correct footwork around a base, and communication to develop a quicker, more accurate throw.
Fielding - Coach Stith uses a drill he calls Circle the Wagons to begin the fielding aspect of the workout. The drill begins with the coaches rolling balls to the fielders, giving the players a chance to focus on correct fielding fundamentals and seeing the ball into their gloves. The rolls get progressively more difficult, building up into live hit balls off the bat. Stith believes in fielders being hit a lot of ground balls off the bat, as there is no substitute for live work and reading the ball off the bat.
Outfield and Communication - Coach Stith does not neglect the outfielders, as
they spend ample time working on making plays and throws from all positions in
the outfield. Stith is able to incorporate throws from the outfield to all
bases, and also infield cutoff plays. There is a lot going on at once, making
the drill very game-like, and forcing the players to focus on their tasks.
Practice moves on to a drill called Right Side Left Side for fielding and
communication. Communication is extremely important for fielders as balls can
drop between fielders or they can be injured if they run into each other.
Plays at the Plate - Coach Stith ends practice with the infielders and outfielders throwing balls home, practicing plays at the plate. This is an important play as plays at the plate are often game deciding plays. Stith also uses these plays as a rallying point for his teams.
Getting more reps out of your team during practice will pay off come game day. Let Coach Stith show you how to run a defensive practice that will prepare your team to play at a level beyond their years. 106 minutes. 2013.