The Best First Base Baseball Drills

First base is one of the most important defensive positions on the baseball field. The first baseman is involved in nearly every infield play and must line up outfield throws when the ball is coming into the catcher. The first baseman must be able to handle short hops routinely, make running catches on pop ups in foul territory and throw the ball accurately when the pitcher covers first base.

Infield Drill

Before the game, the coach will hit grounders to every infielder. The idea is for the infielder to pick up the ball and make a strong throw to first; the first baseman catches it and throws it into the catcher. As the drill continues, the first baseman will pick up his ground ball, run to first base and then throw across the diamond to the third baseman. After each infielder has handled five ground balls, the catcher will roll the ball back to the fielder who caught the last grounder, and the fielder will pick up the ball on the run and throw it in to the catcher before running to the bench. The first baseman will be the last player left on the field besides the catcher.

Bunt Drill

On most bunt plays, the first baseman has to charge in, pick up any bunt on the right side of the infield and throw it to first or second base. In this drill, the coach will lay down a bunt, and the first baseman will charge in and pick it up. The catcher will call out the base the first baseman will throw to. This is an important drill because first basemen are regularly called on to catch the ball but don't get as many opportunities to make competitive throws. Give the first baseman 10 bunt plays per practice to field and throw.

Short-Hop Drill

Catching a ball thrown by the shortstop or third baseman from across the infield is a standard play for the first baseman. However, when that ball bounces in the dirt, the first baseman is still supposed to come up with those one-hop throws. It is anything but routine, even though the first baseman is supposed to make it look that way. In this drill, the third baseman will throw five hard one-hoppers to the first baseman and so will the shortstop. The angle of each throw will be different and the only way to make this play regularly is to practice it with the short-hop drill.

Relay Drill

The first baseman must line up outfielders when they throw the ball to the plate. Ideally, the first baseman is about 60 to 70 feet from the plate and holds both arms up in the air to give the outfielder a target when throwing the ball in. The first baseman must listen to the catcher's order to determine what to do. If the catcher yells "cut, home," the first baseman must catch it and throw the ball to the catcher. If he yells, "cut, third," he catches it and throws it to third. If the catcher doesn't say anything, the first baseman lets the ball go through to the catcher. In this drill, each outfield will get three balls to throw home, and the first baseman must align each of them and make the correct play.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.