No matter what position you play on the field you need to be equipped to use the drop stop. The drop step is the footwork you use to catch a ball over head. The most important thing with the drop step is to cover ground; you want to focus on the first 2 steps.
It is important to open up big and cross over big. You want to open up to the direction that the ball is hit. If the ball is hit over my right shoulder, I want to open up and drop my right foot back and cross over big with my left foot. It's important to get my hips going in the direction that the ball is hit. Common mistakes are trying to crossover first with the left foot or taking a short step with the right foot.
It is key to be in good running form, pumping your glove, and to be running in the direction that the ball is hit with your head turned back to the ball. You may see kids trying to backpedal or crisscross trying to get to the ball. We can simply run with our back to the ball and turn our head over our shoulder to find the ball.
Again, we want to cover ground and create a good angle to where the ball is going to land, so opening up our hips is key to this process. You can work on your drop steps many ways. You can use tennis balls with no glove to work on soft hands, do line drive tosses that way you can focus on being explosive with your first couple steps, or you can do longer tosses and challenge the fielder to cover ground. It is important to work all angles of the drop step.
Drop steps are part of the everyday routine in college and even the pros. It's key to continue to work on the fundamentals of the game even at the highest level. So be sure to incorporate drop steps as part of your daily routine and not just for outfielders; as we all have to be able to catch fly balls no matter what position we play!
Amanda Williams is a National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) All Star playing with the Chicago Bandits, Rockford Thunder and the Tennessee Diamonds. She is a former four-year starter in center field for Marshall University and also coachedfor the Thundering Herd for 7 years.