When it comes to addressing the necessary skills of a defensive player in the game of baseball a conversation will not go far without mentioning fielding the ground ball. Assuredly, sound mechanics and proper instruction are the best methods to acquire the skills needed to perform the task consistently, effectively and efficiently. .
The topic provides opportunity to consider a number of perspectives on best practices that don’t essentially offer right or wrong views but more of style and schools of thought differences.
Also, a number of situations can be considered when discussing ground ball fielding techniques and tactics.
And while infielders in particular are inclined to be masters of the glove in capturing the ground ball, honestly all players will eventually encounter moment when a ball while it is moving on the ground in need of being collected. With that in mind, a few tips and reminders on the skill may be good for everyone.
In this piece, the Dirtbags are going to look for guidance from a few of the organization’s coaches as they weigh in on this one with some direction and insight.
- Brendan Dougherty … 17u / Director of South Carolina for Dirtbags Baseball
- Wood Myers … 14u
- J.D. Poetzsch … 16u
What do you consider a must in the mechanics of fielding a ground ball?
BRENDAN DOUGHERTY – It starts with footwork and the ability to gain ground and create an angle to the ball. We want to create good hops and I have watched way to many infielders sit back on balls and try to use there arm instead of creating an angle, gaining ground and getting to the ball.
WOOD MYERS – Pre pitch routine should be in sync with pitcher. Ready when the ball enters the hitting zone. Use the following cues:
- Athletic setup. Feet shoulder width apart.
- Hands out front so your eyes can track the ball in the glove.
- Secure the ball inside the glove and funnel closer to your body. Find grip on the ball to throw.
- Feet should be working toward first base to make as strong of a throw as needed.
J.D. POETZSCH – Mandatory mechanics on a ground ball are:
- Athletic stance; feet slightly wider than shoulders.
- Hands out front specifically PALM UP.
- Eyes follow ball into glove ( show the button on your cap).
- Momentum working through the baseball whenever possible.
- Follow/trail your throw for a few steps to make sure you get as much on it as you can.
What is your favorite drill for players to use as they look to develop their hands for taking ground balls?
BRENDAN DOUGHERTY – Glove Drills- System we use with short hops with and without footwork using one hand and two. It works the ball directly at you, the backhand and the forehand.
WOOD MYERS – My favorite drill is the “pick your hop drill”. I like the drill a lot because it makes the fielder make quick decisions with their feet to get the best hop. It also requires the fielders feet and hands to be in rhythm with each other. Great drill for developing any fielder.
J.D. POETZSCH – Short work. We do partner drills with rolled balls into set positions like right in front, forehands, and backhands to practice form and muscle memory.
What is a hot tip for infielders working on charge play fundamentals?
BRENDAN DOUGHERTY – Attack the ball worry about your footwork after you have the ball. Throw from different arm angles. Be athletic and have some body control and body balance.
WOOD MYERS – While Charging a slow roller, take both hands to the ball and field it on the inside of your left foot. Timing is key to make this play successful. This will allow for a much quicker exchange/throw.
J.D. POETZSCH – If at all possible field the ball in front and outside of your glove foot. Keep moving through the baseball, don’t try and overthrow. Follow your throw towards the bag as much as possible.
The Dirtbags appreciate all the shared wisdom by our coaches on becoming better fielders of the ground ball! Come back next week when we get 3 answers on hitting from the coaches of the Dirtbags.