One of the first plays I have infielders work on is also one of the toughest plays to make. The slow hit ground ball that is hit too hard to bare hand but too slow to round and catch on the glove side, is one of the keys for great fielding. This play requires great timing, speed, and balance, not to mention good athleticism. The good news is that once this play is perfected, it helps fielders' mechanics and aggressiveness on all ground balls.
To teach this play, I first have players bare hand slow hit balls to get the feel of running through the ball, and catching it on their throwing side. Once they get comfortable with this barehanded catch and throw method, without any stutter steps, I have them perform the same play by using the two-hand catch on their throwing side with balls set on the ground as seen here. Next, practice the slow roller with balls rolled from a short distance before trying it from further back.
Players can throw over the top at first until they develop the accuracy and arm strength to throw sidearm from down low. Side arm throwing can be worked on with the throwing drills seen here.
This play takes a great amount of repetition to perform smoothly, but once done, players are well on their way to becoming great fielders.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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