cutoffs and relays



Who is the cutoff person for a relay from the outfield?

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Cut-offs
by: Coach Dan

This is a great question because the key to getting the ball back in from the outfield is making the process as efficient as possible. That entails two things: First, everyone knowing who the proper cut-off person is; and secondly, players properly catching and throwing the ball onto the next location (player or bag).

In the simpliest of cut-offs, when the ball is hit to leftfield or centerfield, the shortstop should take the cutoff, while the first baseman covers first, the second baseman covers second and the third baseman covers third. The catcher covers home. The pitcher, if there is a chance a runner can advance to third or home, should back up third or home. If the ball is hit to rightfield, then the second baseman takes the cut-off and the shortstop covers second.

Whoever is taking the cutoff should be our yelling "cut, cut, cut" so the outfielder knows who to throw to, whilewhoever is cover the base that the ball should be thrown to, should be telling the cutoff person left or right to line up a direct line between the outfielder, cutoff and person covering the bag. If the ball is not that deep, the person covering the bag may yell "through" or some other word to tell the outfielder to throw it directly into the bag. In any case, whether to be cut or direct, it should be catchable by the cutoff. Why? Because that is the fastest way to the base. No need to send a blooper or high arc throw,

Once the throw is made, the cutoff should turn her body to take the throw so that her glove hand elbow is pointing to the base she is throwing to. This will allow for a quicker release towards the base when she catches the ball. See the Indian drill on this page for a way to improve the team's comfort and positioning on taking relays. That second gained can be all the difference.

Now, there are other situations where other people may take the cut-off, like a situation where you have a runner on third with one out and you want to prevent the runner from scoring, on a fly ball to left, you may have the third baseman take the cut as the most direct throw home. Also, with the bases loaded and a hit to the outfield, you may have the first baseman take the cut-off in the pitcher's circle, but focus on the basics first and once perfected, you can tweak for more complicated situations.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Dan

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