Cutoffs and Relays

Source: ABCA, Skills and Drills

Things to remember
All Fielders
  • Every player has a job to do on every play.
  • Fielders generally throw the ball one base ahead of the lead runner.
  • Fielders must think about what they may have to do with the ball before it comes to them.
  • Players should communicate confidently and loudly with teammates.
  • Outfielders should try to make all throws to bases using a ball trajectory that will allow the ball to be cut off by an infielder. The throw should also have enough carry to reach the base (if not cut) on a line or only take one long hop.
  • The throw to the cutoff man should be chest to head high.
Cutoff/Relay Man
  • The relay man should have his hands in the air to give a target to the outfielder.
  • The cutoff and relay men should be in a position to make a perfect throw to the intended base if needed. They should never position themselves farther from the target than their abilities allow.
  • As the ball is released in his direction, the relay man should move to keep the ball on his glove side and the ball about head high.
  • As he is about to catch the ball he needs to turn his lower body to line up with his target (see photo).
  • His hands should not drop below his chest because he must throw the ball quickly.
  • As he makes his throw, he makes a right foot left foot shuffle step (for right-handed thrower) towards his target.
The Call Men
The First Call Man (Outfielder)
  • Is always the outfielder closest to the outfielder making the play.
  • Calls the base the fielder should throw to (e.g., “Two, “Four”). He shouldn’t call “Cut”, because whether the ball needs to be cut, or not, is the responsibility of the infielder call man.
The Second Call Man (Infielder)
  • The player covering the base where the throw is initially intended, calls the base number (e.g., “Two”, “Four”) and then lines up the cutoff man in a straight line to the base
  • If the call man knows that the outfielder’s throw is not going to reach the base and he needs the cutoff man to relay the ball in, he needs to yell “Cut” and the base number.
  • If the second call man just calls the base number that he is on without saying “Cut”, he wants the ball to travel through to the base without being cut-off.
  • If there is no play at the initial base but there is a play at another base or home, the second call man yells “Cut” and the base number (e.g., “Cut 2”, “Cut 4”).
  • If there is no play at any base, the second call man just yells “Cut.” The relay man then typically runs the ball back to the infield.

Coaches Cheat Sheet – Cutoffs and Relays 

No One on Base, Single to Left, Centre or Right Field
Runner on First, Single to Left, Centre or Right Field
Runner on Second, Single to Left, Centre or Right Field
Runners on First and Second, Single to Left, Centre or Right Field
No One on Base, Extra Base Hit to Left-Centre or Right-Centre
Runner on First, Extra Base Hit to Left-Centre or Right-Centre
Runner on Third, Fly Ball to Left or Right Field