Not many outfielders are blessed with Vladimir Guerrero’s rocket arm, which is exactly why Jorge Garza, outfielders coach for the nationally ranked University of Houston Cougars, stresses the importance of establishing a technically sound crow hop. It will help you fire the ball to its destination—quickly.
“Throwing out runners is not just about a player’s arm strength; it’s also about his technique and the momentum he gathers behind the throw,” Garza says. “We want the ball to be in and out of their gloves in less than 1.3 seconds.”
Garza offers five tips to a successful crow-hop. The instructions are for right-handed players, so perform them the opposite way if you’re left-handed.
1. Position yourself behind the baseball so you can move forward and gain momentum on the catch.
2. While moving forward, keep your left arm bent above your left shoulder, and make sure your left foot is forward when you catch the ball.
3. Let the momentum you’ve created take you forward. Replace your left foot with your right one fluidly; then step forward with your left foot. It’s one motion with no extra steps.
4. Keep your momentum moving forward in the direction of the throw.
5. Follow through on your throw by using the momentum you’ve created from the replacement step to help you take three to five steps toward the base you’re throwing to.