Reflect, Evaluate, Develop: Infield Defense Log & Journal

Self evaluation isn’t always an easy thing to do. Sometimes it requires us to have some difficult conversations with ourselves. We need to not only acknowledge our strengths but we also have to own our weaknesses. There needs to be a fine balance of the good with the bad so we don’t dwell on the negative. Too much focus on the positives and we don’t truly use the self evaluation to get better. Too much focus on the negatives and we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we’re good at. The use of a journal and/or log can be a useful tool in the self evaluation process, especially when it’s paired with video analysis as well as peer/coach assessments that can drive development.

The great thing about using a log or a journal is that it allows the player, or coach for that matter, to learn about and coach themselves. It ultimately promotes reflective inquiry and critical analysis skills which drive development, physically and cognitively.

So I’ve created a few resources to allow infielders to self evaluate their games. Available now on the Resources page are the Routines Journal, Practice Journal, as well as the Game Journal/Log.

Routines Journal

The benefit of having routines on the baseball field are well known and discussed. In general the use of routines allows for a sense of normalcy in the face of adversity, boredom, and error. It allows for our minds and bodies to reset and refocus on the task at hand to remain in the present. The Routines Journal resource has spaces for pre-practice, pre-game, pre-pitch as well as error recovery routines. Having a routine in each of those aspects of a season, in terms of the defensive game, gets those thoughts out on paper so we can read and re-read those routines to hold ourselves accountable in those specific times.

Practice Journal

Practice is where development takes place. In order to get the most out of our hard work we need to have a plan of attack. The Practice Journal resources can be used to form that plan of attack and then reflect on the practice session. On the journal you’ll find a Focus, Drills Performed, Notes, as well as reflection sections to drive future practice sessions.

Game Journal

The Game Journal is unique in that it allows us to measure our direct contributions to the defensive side of the game. We can use it to break down each play we’re directly involved in down to some of the most specific details. It also allows us to reflect on how we handled the mental game in the Pre-Pitch Performance section as well as the number of outs we contributed to, which is the name of the game on defense, in the Outs Contributed Summary section. This Game Journal is easily completed and the log can be, and should be, completed in between innings when the details of each chance is fresh in your mind.

You can download the Journals and an example of a completed Game Journal to the right.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at the Log on the Game Journal. This section is a detailed look at each play we directly contribute to. Here is what each column represents:

  • Chance Number
    • Each individual opportunity to contribute to an out
  • Inning
    • The inning the chance occurred in
  • Pre-Pitch Situation
    • The count, outs and base runners before the chance
  • Depth
    • Your starting position before the play
      • 1=Standard Depth
      • 2=Double Play Depth
      • 3=Half Way
      • 4=Infield In
  • Play Direction
    • The direction your moved to make a play on a batted ball
      • F=Forward
      • B=Back
      • L=Left
      • R=Right
  • Groundball
    • If the chance was a ground ball, the hop you fielded and the number of hands used
  • Flyball
    • If the chance was a fly ball, did you catch the fly ball successfully?
      • + = Yes
      • – = No
  • Catch/Receive
    • Did you have to catch/receive a throw successfully?
      • + = Yes
      • – = No
  • Throw
    • Did you have to make a throw? If so, how accurate was it?
      • The + is the center of your target
      • Treat this from your perspective looking at your target
  • Play Result
    • What was the scoring decision/outcome of the chance?
  • Error Recovery Routine
    • Did you make an error? If so, did you use your error recovery routine?
  • Notes
    • Record any notes about the chance for future reference or clarification

I hope you find these resources useful. I’m always interested to hear from readers and I’ll be especially interested to hear how you’ve used these resources. Do you have an idea to make it better? Please let me know. This is a living resource and I’m always looking to improve it.

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