How To Catch a Fly Ball Using a Drop-Step

by Tim Covey

How To Catch a Fly Ball Using a Drop-Step

This week is a quick, but important tip on how to catch a fly ball using a drop-step. While there are some other important aspects of fly-ball fundamentals as well, today I focus only this one aspect.

Click below to watch and listen this weeks tip of the week, and then read below for a summary of this weeks post!

When teaching your players how to catch a fly ball it is crucial that they learn this important footwork. 


When the drop-step is not used on fly-balls hit over their shoulders, these are the things that can happen:

  1. On a ball hit sharply over their shoulder, an inefficient (or partial) drop-step often leads to the ball drifting over the opposite shoulder.
  2. A poor drop-step on a ball hit to the side of the outfielder can lead to a poor angle to the ball. When a poor angle is taken, it leads to additional steps to get to the ball (and the ball more likely to get past the outfielder).
  3. A partial drop step will often lead to the player taking a “J” cut…which means they take a step to their side before they start to go back on the ball. Again, this leads to extra steps getting to the ball.
  4. NOTE: While drop-stepping plays a huge role in the outfield, it is also important for infielders to learn. Many “bloopers” are missed by the infield as a result of a poor drop-step.

Now that we know the importance of the drop-step, here is a quick review of the basics of this technique:

  1. As soon as the player identifies the ball COULD go over her shoulder, she takes a step “back” with the proper foot.
  2. The player throws her hips open in order to get her body positioned properly to take a great angle back to the ball. Some coaches use the phrase to “open the door” with the hips. The video shows a good example of the outfielder “opening the door” and taking a FULL drop-step in order to take a great angle to the ball.

Drop-steps are a key aspect that players need to learn when you are teaching them how to catch a fly ball. Be sure to work this into your practices and emphasize it with both your outfielders and your infielders this season!

Do your players struggle with this technique?  Have a question or comment?  Let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook!

Tim Covey
Tim Covey


2 Responses

Tim Covey
Tim Covey

November 03, 2019

Hi Derek thanks for your comment! We teach to wait until the ball is hit to read if it’s in front or not. When in doubt we always want them to drop-step as their first movement. Hope that helps!

Derek picaso
Derek picaso

November 02, 2019

I have a question regarding the drop step . My daughters coach has her drop stepping and running full speed before the ball is pitched . I’m trying to understand the reasoning behind this ? What is that doing ? To me it takes her away from making the plays that are short pop ups or bloopers over the infield because she running away before the ball is hi .

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