• Infield Softball Skills: Backhand Flip Technique

by Tim Covey

Infield skills in fastpitch softball are a huge part of what we work on with our players each week. Backhandscatcher technique, grounder fundamentals, double play feeds,  drop-steps on pop-ups, and bunt defense are just a few of the things that we need to teach our teams.

In this weeks tip, the infield fundamentals that I cover is one type of toss that is most commonly used by the second baseman…the backhand toss (or “flip”).

Typically, this toss is going to be used on a ball that is hit directly at the fielder, and she is close enough to her target to make the toss efficiently. If she is too far away from the target, a different type of toss would be more effective.

Click the video to watch and listen to the breakdown of the technique, and then read below the video for some additional content!

 

You may have picked up in the video that the backhand flip is commonly used with the second baseman when she is turning the double play, or trying to get the force out at second base. However, this could be used by other infielders as well in different situations. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. The shortstop making a toss to third base (if she is “cheating” toward third base before the ball is hit).
  2. The third baseman or pitcher on a squeeze play that takes them to their left side. (An underhand toss is more probable here but it’s possible a backhand toss is necessary).

The point is that it’s a good idea to have all of your players learn how to use this infield fundamentals technique. You never know when they may need to use some type of variation of this toss.

One key to using this technique is that you need to have your players practice making this toss at different distances. The stronger the fielder, the farther away from her target she can be to use this method. Younger players will naturally have less “range” for making this type of toss.

But the only way they will figure out the “proper” range is to have them figure it out in practice.

To review, here are the key components of the backhand flip technique:

  1. The ELBOW leads the toss.  When players keep their arms stiff (or straight) the end result is often a high or inaccurate toss.
  2. The hand should finish close to “should-height” at the end of the toss. Again, if the hand comes up too high it may result in a poorly tossed ball.
  3. As a “rule of thumb,” the player's weight should stay mostly centered. Watch the video again to see how her weight stays mostly “in her legs” with a slight weight shift towards the toss.

So there you have it! This backhand toss is just one small part of the overall infield fundamentals “umbrella,” but teaching it properly gives your players the advantage for being more consistent and efficient!

Do you teach this technique to your players? Have a question or observation? Leave a comment below or over on Facebook!



Tim Covey
Tim Covey

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