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A major success factor for any outfielder is a solid base in fundamental fielding. But for many players, the simple crow hop is a defensive challenge, especially when transitioning from fielding to throwing.
Once you've mastered the basics (see Part 1 of this Crow Hop series), it's time to apply them to your live workouts with the 6-Cone Crow Hop Drill.
6-Cone Crow Hop Drill
Start at a cone either on one knee or standing (the first two steps in the crow hop series) with a ball in your glove. Crow hop and make a throw to a teammate. Finish by touching a cone 10 feet in front of you. This will force you to follow through on your throw.
After you make the throw and touch the cone, hip-turn and run at a 45-degree angle to a cone 30 feet behind you. Circle around the cone, then field a ground ball coming directly at you. Throw it to a teammate and again follow through by touching a cone 10 feet in front of you.
Same as the Rolled Ball, but instead of a ground ball, catch a fly ball and finish with the cone touch.
Ground Ball Attack Mode
The third and final extension in the Crow Hop progression series is Ground Ball Attack Mode. This variation is a three-step routine, designed to get you to the ball as quickly as possible while maintaining control.
Place two cones 30 to 40 feet apart. Have a teammate stand anywhere from 90 to 120 feet in front of the two cones, splitting them in half.
Ground Ball Run Through
Start at left cone to work on balls to your right. Teammate rolls a ball between the two cones. Sprint to the ball and field it in the shortest amount of time possible. Think of it like a loose ball in basketball: the faster you get to the ball, the better chance you'll have for an open lay-up.
In order to field the ball in a good position in front of your body, you must take a diagonal step to your right to get around the baseball. The further apart the cones are placed, the more you will have to round off the ball. Once you field the ball, flip it to your teammate and continue running a few steps to simulate a follow-through. Repeat from the right cone, working on going left.
Run Through With Crow Hop
In this phase, attack the ball with the same intensity as the last phase—get to the ball as quickly as possible—except now add the crow hop. You must break down and get under control before you field the ball to ensure you can make an accurate throw. However, don't make the throw yet; just flip the ball back to your teammate. Repeat from the right cone, working on going left.
The live phase simply puts the last two steps together. Take the same aggressive approach, break down under control when fielding the ball, and make the throw.