There are nine baseball positions on the field, and of course, you can only play one at a time. However, you'll up your stock as a player by becoming a versatile defender who's reliable in more than one spot. If you're the starting shortstop playing every day, you probably don't need to think about switching positions. However, if you can prove to your coaching staff that you are able to play more than one, you'll become an even more valued commodity.
Say you don't have a spot on the baseball diamond nailed down as your own. When might you consider putting in work at another position? These are three common reasons to weigh a change:
1. Veterans are blocking your path. If you find yourself sitting behind an established player who will not be coming out of the lineup anytime soon, you'll see playing opportunities dwindle as the season progresses. This may be a good opportunity for you to look at other positions — are there any with less experienced players or players who are having trouble? Consider where you could be an upgrade.
2. Glove work is affecting your overall play. You may find yourself struggling on defense in your current position, or you may just be out of position as you climb the ranks. If your offensive production is negatively affected, a position switch could be just the thing to jump-start your bat.
3. Your coach deserves respect. The most important reason to change positions is because the coach said so. Your coach is the boss, and by embracing change, you'll show a lot to not only the coaching staff but to your teammates, as well. Even if you're a starter at your current position, switching positions could open the door for other players to get into the lineup, giving your team the best chance to win.
OK, so you've made a position change. Now what? Here are a couple of tips on making a smooth transition:
1. Put in that extra work. There is no substitute for hard work — and in this case, extra hard work. You might have to make a position change while also preparing to serve in a utility role. If so, you'll need to get your repetitions at the new position and the old one. There is only so much time to practice, so extra work is imperative.
2. Get as many live reps as possible. Live reps, which are as close to in-game situations as possible, are essential, and the best place for this will be in batting practice. The hardest part of changing baseball positions is the different reads and angles, so the more you see the ball off the bat, the more comfortable you'll become.