Robbing a Home Run

Posted in: Team Results

Going … going—gotcha!

When you play outfield, one thought should be in your mind: I want the ball. Before the ball is hit, know where to go with it after you catch it. (Think positive!) Robbing a homerun at the fence is rare, but when it happens, it’s bittersweet—at least for the batter. You’ll feel like a big leaguer

If you know the ball’s going to the fence, locate the fence. As you’re running back, you’re not watching the ball. You’re running hard at the fence. You know the ball will be near it, so why look there and then run? It’s difficult, too, to stare at the ball and run backwards. As you get closer to the wall, then start locating the baseball.

The only time you reach for the fence is when you’re close. If you’re full speed with your hand out, you’ll injure yourself. You need to be under control, speed-wise. The hand you use is determined after the ball is hit. If the ball is hit left of you (and you’re right handed) you’ll check for the fence with your glove hand. This is opposite if you’re left handed. If the ball is hit to the right of you as a right hander, you’ll check for the wall with your throwing hand.

So you’re now at the fence, waiting. Time your jump to make the catch before the ball goes over. Bad timing and you’ll miss the ball. It’s critical to jump at the right time! In college, I had six chances to rob a homerun and came out 50-50. One time I nailed the wall full speed, injuring my wrist. Another experience was at Frostburg University, in the first round of the playoffs. Frostburg was favored to win, yet we won and shocked the conference. In the 4th inning, the score was tied and their biggest threat suddenly was in a 2-0 count. I cheated to the pull side and backed up, 15 feet from the fence. The batter hit the ball, hard. Knowing I was close, I didn’t have to run full speed to get back. I timed my jump. I know adrenaline kicked in because I jumped high to catch that ball. And I caught it! Have you ever made a catch at the fence? What do you attribute your success (or failure) to? ~ By Coach Brett Daly. Coach Daly, a coaching alum of Dig In Baseball, lives by this maxim: “Never give up in what you believe in, if that’s what you truly love.” Contact him at