Baseball Ground Ball Drill, Footwork and Hands
How many times do baseball players hear the phrase, “get in front of the ball” or “keep your glove down” when referring to baseball? Infielders rarely have a ground ball come the exact same way twice in the row. It may bounce off something, take a freaky spin off the bat, or simply be a rocket shot. Coaches who give their baseball players the right tools will help them succeed. Fielding a ground ball is one of the toughest baseball skills to master so teaching baseball players the fundamentals of properly fielding ground balls sets them up for success.
Position, good footwork, and speed all play a major role in fielding ground balls. Infielders, outfielders, catchers and pitchers all have to be able to properly field their position. In order to field a ground ball properly and successfully the goal for a baseball player is to get to the ball as quickly as possible in order to make the throw to get a runner out on base or hit the relay man from the outfield. The key is putting it all together.
Infield Hand Drills
Train while wearing Kbands for resistance to do ground ball sequences to improve center balance, glute strength, and build strength moving laterally. Ground ball drills with Kbands can be done in practice, training sessions, and simply enhance muscle stimulation to the legs. This in turn will build leg strength, body control, and overall power in stride. Complete 15 to 20 reps of each the short hop, forehand, and backhand. Either have a coach or trainer throw the ball or pair up with another infielder and toss the ball back and forth to each other. Coaches need to preach form and technique to perform better. Kbands, will however, build strength throughout the lower half which will provide baseball players with a better center of balance and power throughout their stride. Half the battle of fielding a ground ball is getting in position. Completing ground ball drills with Kbands resistance will improve infielders performance.
Baseball | 3 Fielding Positions
When fielding a ground ball, the correct body position is a must. If a baseball player does not watch the ball all the way in or have the correct footwork he will be out of position and unable to make the play. Correct body position includes; standing with the glove side foot slightly in front of the other foot, presenting glove palm to batter, stepping with the opposite leg and then back to the glove side foot leading the other foot slightly when the pitcher begins throwing. As the pitcher delivers the baseball the feet should be a little wider than shoulders, body weight on the balls of feet, and body facing toward the plate. Palms should be facing each other with the glove about knee level to easily field a ground ball.
Quick reflexes and soft hands are attributes of in fielding. Ground balls come at infielders with such velocity that even the best have an occasional ball bounce out of their glove. Keeping soft hands will reduce the amount of balls popping out of an infielder’s glove.
Short Hop: Fielding a ground ball on a short hop is difficult. This is the first sequence seen in the video above. Throw the ball out in front of the fielder’s body so that it produces a short hop. The infielder should stick his hands out to receive the ball before it gets in on him and eats him up. If the infielder tries to cradle a short hop, more often than not, they will not field the ball correctly and the runner will be safe. Coaches prefer that infielders charge a short hopper so that they can catch it as it hits the ground. A wall behind a fielder while doing this drill helps prevent him from backing up. Arm strength determines whether or not a fielder has what it takes to throw a runner out if he backs up to field a short hop. It is ideal to field the short hop as it hits the ground.
Forehand: Practicing fielding ground balls on the forehand side is pretty basic. It is important to keep the body low and in the athletic fielding position. Approach the ball by being lined up with the left foot, if the infielder is right handed. When an infielder meets the ball then he should step to it with the right foot. Make sure the the butt sinks to get underneath the baseball. The glove should be near the ground and ready to field the ball. Cradle the baseball and be sure to keep your eyes on the ball all the way in until the throwing arm takes control of the baseball.
Backhand: The backhand takes lots of practice and proper technique. The athletic position is used for this drill and field backhand during practice or in a game. Maintain a wide base and the butt stays down and the glove hand is out. Just as a baseball player reaches out to catch a fly ball, line drive, or field a ground ball. The back hand should be fielded with the opposite leg of the glove hand in front. Bend the back knee and lower the center of gravity to bring the glove hand down. As the ball approaches stay down and watch the ball in. As the ball is fielded the infielder can either throw from this position or take a quick double step to gain momentum towards first base for the throw. When going after the ball, the back knee must move close to the ground to maintain an elevated chest and be in a proper position to field the ground ball. If the infielder is rolled all the way over and his chest is facing the ground, the infielder will more than likely have too much weight over the ball of his foot and not be balanced to make a throw to first base.
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