How To Field A Ground Ball
How to field a ground ball? Keep reading. Keeping your chest over the ball, and specifically, what I mean by that is as you’re approaching a ground ball. So, let’s say the balls hit directly at me what I want to do is get around the baseball ever so slightly. So, my footwork can be right left, and then I go to field the ground ball.
What you’ll notice is I want my chest to be over the ground ball, and that’s going to automatically set me up in a position where my back is flat. I am sure you have heard coaches talk about that a lot. I have a flat back in my fielding position, and my butt is up.
A lot of coaches preach to you to get your butt down, get your butt down, and so a lot of younger players think that that means to get your butt down like you are trying to touch the ground with your butt. We don’t want our butt down we want our butt high and a flat back, but that’s just way too much to think about.
So, if you just think about keeping your chest over the baseball, that’s automatically going to get you into a much better position with that flat back and that high position of your butt that we’re looking for.
Funnel The Baseball Into Your Body
You want to funnel everything into your body. All right so we’re approaching that same ground ball that’s hit directly at us and getting ourselves in a good athletic position. Right, left footwork, flat back you want your butt high with hands out in front. We want to field the ball out in front.
We don’t want to field the ball back between our legs. The reason for that it is harder for us to see the ball when it’s directly underneath us. We want to field the ground ball out in front below the chest. When we properly field the ground ball we don’t want to keep the ball out in front; we want to field the ball and funnel it into our body.
We have more control of the baseball with our glove when everything is in tight to your body. It’s the same with hitting, and this is kind of a two-for-one tip because if you’re an infielder, you’re also a hitter right, but in hitting you want to keep everything tight to your body and stay connected because that’s where you have control, and that’s where you have the power.
It’s the same when it comes to fielding. I don’t care if it’s a ball hit right at you, or to your forehand or backhand. When you field the baseball you want to have your hands out in front, but then bring it in tight to your body that way you don’t bobble the ball or lose the ball, you have control.
Create Momentum Toward Your Target
So 99% of the time as an infielder you’re going to be trying to create momentum to your left going towards the first base or second base. The only time you go in the opposite direction is if you are a first baseman or a second baseman, and you are making a double play feed to second base.
Aside from that, you’re always be moving to your left, so you want to create that momentum. How you do that, is you do it with your footwork. So, if a baseball is hit directly at me, I want to get to the right of the baseball ever-so-slightly. It’s not a huge banana turn, it’s ever so slightly, that way when I’m approaching the ground ball I can step right then left, and I field the ball.
When that left foot comes down, I field the ball, and my momentum is already going towards my target. The worst thing that you can do, on the ball hit directly at you. is run straight up to the ball. If you run straight up, and you field the ball, even if you’re in an excellent fielding position, you’re stuck here, and then you got to overcome inertia to get that momentum going towards your target.
So whenever you can, I know it’s difficult, especially on backhands and things like that, but if a ball hit right at you or whenever you can control it be sure that you get around the baseball slightly, use your feet and create that momentum going towards your target all right, so we cover some great stuff so far.
Field The Ball Slightly On Your Glove Side
I want you to try fielding the ball on your glove side at home. I want you to get down in that athletic position that we were talking about. You don’t even need your glove. I want you to let your arms naturally hang down just let them naturally hang down and notice where your arms are.
My left arm hangs a little bit to the left side, and my right arm hangs a little bit to the right side. We don’t want to fight what our body is naturally doing. If you are a right-handed thrower, you wear your glove on your left side.
If I just let my arms hang down again, I’m going to field the ball slightly on my glove hand side, so that’s one reason why we want to field the ground ball on our glove hand side, it’s just because it’s natural for your body.
But the other thing is we just talked about is generating momentum towards our target, and 99% of the time your target is going to be to your left. So again, if I approach the ground ball correctly, a ground ball hit directly at me, I’m getting around it, I’m generating up momentum with my footwork, so I step right then step left with my footwork, then I want to continue that momentum to field the ball ever so slightly on my glove side.
It wouldn’t make any sense if my footwork is stepping right then step left and going towards first base and having to reach back to field the ball. I’m talking about a matter of inches. Aligned with your left ear that’s where you want to field the ball.
Field The Ground Ball One-Handed
This one’s important, especially for younger infielders. Learn how to field the ball with one hand. I see way too many young infielders get over-reliant when fielding a ground ball. They close their glove, and they are almost fielding the ball with their glove hand and their top hand at the same time simultaneously.
What a lot of these players are doing, is they try to time fielding the ball, so both hands come in the glove at the same time. You want to learn how to be able to pick the ball cleanly with just one hand and use the throwing hand on top for support.
If that ball takes a bad hop you can kind of knock it down with that top hand there, but the biggest reason why the throwing hand is so close and so that when you do field the ground ball, you can get a quick transfer and get that ball from your glove to your hand.
One thing you can even try is putting your right hand behind your back in practice. Field the ball cleanly with your glove hand. Have a coach hit or throw ground balls and just work on approaching them and fielding them one-handed. I promise you once the second hand comes into play you’re gonna be a much better infielder because of it.
Ideally, I’d like to have my left foot slightly behind my right foot. I like this because I feel that since my glove is on the left side of my body, it makes my glove work a lot easier. Then, I don’t have to worry about my left leg getting in the way.
I feel I have a lot more room for error, and I don’t have to be quite so perfect in reading the hops. It makes you work harder to get your feet in the right position to throw to first base, but you have to field it before you can throw it.
When playing the infield, your footwork should never stop. That doesn’t mean you go full sprint to the ball. It says your footwork should be consistently taking small steps at all times. Your feet need to take small steps so that you can redirect at any speed and any time. Footwork is essential because it creates the rhythm and timing to be in the perfect position to field.
Making the Throw
We are teaching infielders to short arm the ball. Which is good because we have to get rid of the ball quickly. Infielders need to learn how to throw from many arm angles because of the plays we have to make as infielders. That’s why it is crucial that we learn to short arm and get carry on the ball.
Take your right foot and place it in front of your left foot. Do this instead of placing it behind because when you place it in front, your momentum is going towards first instead of falling away slightly. Take a mini hop or a shuffle step (whichever is more comfortable) and make your throw.
How To Field A Ground Ball – Conclusion
Whether you are starting from scratch or fine-tuning your approach, this article will teach you how to field a routine ground ball like the top players in the league.
Angles to Field the Ball / Glove Work and Transfer / Infield Footwork / Momentum through the Ball / proper way to field a ground ball / Techniques and fundamentals of how to field the ball
Thanks To Coach Justin for video and pictures.
Table Of Contents
- 1 How To Field A Ground Ball
- 2 Funnel The Baseball Into Your Body
- 3 Create Momentum Toward Your Target
- 4 Field The Ball Slightly On Your Glove Side
- 5 Field The Ground Ball One-Handed
- 6 Foot Positioning
- 7 Making the Throw
- 8 How To Field A Ground Ball – Conclusion
- 9 Thanks To Coach Justin for video and pictures.