A Brief Overview of Cut-Off Plays in Little League


Cut-Off Plays pic
Cut-Off Plays
Image: stack.com

Damon Grandbouche studied outdoor education at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander, Wyoming. For the last seven years, Damon Grandbouche has volunteered with Princeton Little League in Princeton, New Jersey.

Little league coaches are responsible for teaching children about the many fundamentals of baseball. One important lesson involves players learning the basics of a cutoff. Cut-off plays are common at every level of the sport, including Major League Baseball (MLB), but are especially important at the lower levels, as cutoffs help teams throw the ball over greater distances more effectively.

Cut-off plays can feature any combination of outfield and infield players, though they most often include an outfielder, the second baseman, and the shortstop. A play begins with an opponent hitting a fair ball deep into the outfield. Instead of waiting for the outfielder to reach the ball and make a long throw to the infield, one infielder must begin running to the outfield in order to intercept the throw, ideally at the exact midpoint between the outfielder and the infield.

However, the cut-off play is not a two person operation. If a ball is hit to left field, the shortstop is expected to fill the role of cutoff. Meanwhile, the second baseman must cover the bag while directing the cutoff so that he or she positions themselves correctly. Coaches must develop a team rule for which player acts as cutoff when a ball is hit to center field, shortstop or second, and which player will cover the bag.