They do not say practice makes a man perfect, for no reason. Be it sports, education, professional life, or anything else, you cannot excel in your field unless you practice the skills you are interested in. Talking of sports, in USA, any discussion on sports can never be replete without baseball. And, there is no alternative to practicing hard and sweating it out. Various drills and practice routines are thus chalked out for every department of the game. Infield drills are one of the significant aspects of baseball and softball.
Beating the Ball
The coach, in this drill, will set the defense and fielders as usual. Then a hitter will get a soft toss from the plate for putting the ball into play. The harder he hits, the better it will be. Bunting is not allowed. What the infielders need to do here is, they have to field it and then throw it to the first, second, and third home plate consecutively, one after the other. This of course will have to be prior to the runner getting around the base. Fouls are considered to be outs.
The Short Hop
This one involves the coach telling the players to first partner up and face each other with a ball, at a distance of 3 yards between the two. They have to be in a proper fielding position, requiring them to bend their knees, put their buttocks down, and hands out in front of the center of the body. A fielder will then pass a short hop in front of his partner, that is around 12 inches maximum in front of the player's baseball glove. The partner will have to then field the ball on short hop, and work on fielding the ball bottom up or getting under the ball using his glove. The objective is to enhance one's blocking and collecting of the ball.
Progress With Progression
Players have to be paired for this drill. The next thing the coach does is to see that first basemen are down first base line with gloves. Fielders, sans gloves, have to be two steps behind the second-third baseline, and two steps to the right of the first basemen. The fielders are then asked to place the ball on the baseline, and they assume a good infield position. On the coach's signal, the first fielder advances in the direction of the ball, lining up with both hands around ball, with his head down, looking at the ball. The feet are placed so that the back foot (right foot) is perpendicular to the first base. The player then picks up the ball and throws it to 1st base. The point is to make sure that the throws are accurate, as much as possible, and not hard. This can be used in softball too.
The objective of this drill is to improve the communication between players. The coach will hit a number of balls for the players to field. Now, the catch here is that, the fielder will have to yell which base is he going to throw the ball to when the ball is in mid-air. The coach will be stationed in the batter's box, to conduct the drill. The whole point of this exercise is to help the infielders be alert and listen to calls given out, while they are fielding.
These are the basic ones, and in advanced training there are others like double play, infield rotation, drills for improving the throwing accuracy, four corners drill, and many more. All these are crucial, as the infielders can help save a match for a team by restricting the opposition's score and getting them out.