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Lefties Do Not Play Shortstop in Baseball

by April
(New Hampshire)

Turning Two: No Lefties at Shortstop

Turning Two: No Lefties at Shortstop

I was practically born on a baseball field, my Dad was an amazing coach but I am having an issue with my son’s minor league coach.

My son is only 9 years old but he is big for his age and is athletic but he is left handed and the coach for some reason thinks that he and another left
handed child on the team should play shortstop and 3rd base.

It drives me nuts.

It takes at least several extra seconds for kids at this level to realize they have to turn around in order to throw the ball to first and the coaches will blame the kids if they don't get the out at first when it is not their fault.

Dave's Response:

The Baseball Shortstop

The baseball shortstop is one of most difficult baseball positions on the baseball field to play.

Normally on most baseball teams there will be very few players who will have what it takes to play shortstop in some kind of consistent manor. The skill set and athleticism required to play shortstop position is rarely found in youth baseball kids.

You are right on that lefties should not play baseball shortstop or 3rd base.

The only positions lefty baseball players should play are pitcher, firstbase and outfield positions. The problem is that so few players can play shortstop and third base there is a supply and demand problem.

Youth baseball coaches often do not know that lefties should play only lefty positions. If a youth baseball coach has a good athletic player who happens to be lefthanded throwing the coaches are commonly inclined to place the kids in the infield positions like baseball shortstop because there may not be any righthanded throwers that can play shortstop adequately.

Therefore, when we combine the lack of knowledge from the youth baseball coaches with the lack of talented righthanded players we get lefthanded shortstops and thirdbasemen.

You will often see lefthanded catchers in youth baseball, too, because of the same reasons.

Player Development vs. Lefties Playing Shortstop

The youth baseball argument
that I fight so hard for on my website and baseball consulting is simply what this is about.

1. We have
youth baseball coaches that do not understand what positions lefties should be playing.

2. The reasons lefties
play pitcher, 1st base and outfield are because we are trying to develop baseball players to play for the local high school teams. In higher baseball levels these are the only positions lefties will play.

3. We have youth
baseball coaches and youth baseball leagues that do not have the mindset to develop baseball players to someday play in high school baseball.

4. Youth baseball coaches also
put winning over player development. Coaches will play lefties out of position and take away the opportunity to get experience at the positions they should be playing.

In addition, the righthanded players do not get the opportunity to get playing time and experience at shortstop and 3rdbase in order to develop their own skills at righthanded positions.

Perfect Storm is a Red Flag

When you see lefties playing shortstop, thirdbase and catcher in youth baseball leagues you know you have the perfect storm coming together and it is not good.

• Ignorant baseball coaches

• Win-at-all-Costs
baseball coaches.

• Lack of
a Player Development system.

• Poor coaching training
or none at all.

• No local player development
system to prepare players for the high school team.

• Not allowing
baseball players of essential playing time at baseball positions they will need to play in higher levels of baseball.

• Coaches putting
winning ahead of player development.

Lefty Baseball Shortstops is a Lose-Lose

There is not one good reason or argument for lefthanded baseball players playing out of position.

It is a lose-lose for everyone involved. Baseball coaches are going to have to find and develop a righthanded player to play baseball shortstop and leave the lefthanded players in the usual positions on the ball field.

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Mar 27, 2017
Lefty Positions for Low information coach
by: David

Dear Anonymous,
It is not that lefties cannot play infield. They can but you are putting them in harms way. How is a lefty going to turn the pivot on a double play without having to twist around with extra steps.

In addition, you cannot safely turn your body toward 1B to get lined up to make you throw without major contortions and extreme stress on ones throwing arm.

Example: SS goes to their right and fields a ball in the hole. Now imagine the effort to get the feet and body pointed back toward 1B. For one it's too slow, secondly, it is not a natural healthy arm slot to throw from.

There is zero discrimination here. The proof is in the fact that playing lefties anywhere besides P, OF, !B is never done anytime in higher levels of the game--because it is extremely dangerous to the throwing arm and it takes too long to make the throws.

Please leave us you name next time if you are so convinced of your argument. In the meantime--don't be a Dufus baseball coach.

Mar 22, 2017
Leftys can play infield
by: Anonymous

There are some exceptions to any rule. For example my some is a left handed thrower and plays second base on a 14 U travel team and I have yet to see a right handed player come close to making the infield plays and throws that he has made a playing second base. I think that if a player is atheltic and disciplined enough, he could play infield position. The rule has become a discriminating option due to beliefs and not actual proof. We can't say that a lefty can't play infield if we don't give them the chance to show they can't play those positions instead of just assuming they can't.

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