Coaching: Relay & Cut Off Drills
With the new ATEC M1 Pitching Machine, working on cut-offs and relays has never been easier. A common drill used by college baseball coaches, but can be used at almost any level, involves placing the machine in left center field to simulate a situation with runners on the bases, and throwing the ball back to the infielders. Simply create a rotation with players acting as a cutoff man at 3rd, relaying the ball to home or the base of your choice and advancing to the next position at that base. With this drill, you can include almost any and every player on the team and build on the communication and chemistry of the team with coordinated play.
Coaches can provide simulated throws from the outfield with the ATEC M1 Pitching Machine and create different situations that a team must work together and communicate on to get the ball from the cutoff man to the correct base.
On an individual level, coaches want to emphasize catching the ball with two hands and exchanging it quickly on the fly when the player is told what base to throw to. Infielders simply catch the baseball or softball, throw the ball to the base instructed and move on to the next position to provide work on different skills and as many reps as possible for as many different players as possible. It’s also important to stress players meeting or going to the ball and communication with other players in the infield.
The use of the the ATEC M1 Pitching Machine is superior to a coach or player in that position because it provides the repetitions necessary for this drill in a short amount of time with accuracy. It also allows another player who would need to be placed in the outfield and throw the ball in time to work on the cutoffs and relays as well without overworking their arm. The machine can be adjusted to simulate different types of throws from the outfielder to replicate in-game situations. Infielders then need to adjust their feet to the throw and make a decision on moving forward to meet the ball or backing up on a ball thrown over their head.
The ATEC M1 is also easy to transport and can be adjusted to centerfield or right centerfield to replicate different positions on the throw. Work on the cut off man relaying the ball home, home to second, second to third and back home.
Explaining the relay and cut off drill can be confusing but the execution is simple. The relay and cut off drill provides players with reps in different positions and a better understanding of the game of baseball as a whole. If you have any questions on the drill or the ATEC M1 Machine, please call one of our baseball or softball experts at 800-297-0747.
- Matt Kiley