|Explain the Six (6) Qualities of the Best Fielders
- Strong Legs
- Quick Feet
- Soft Hands
- Quick Hands
- Quick Mind
|Explain the Keys to Fielding
- Never lose sight of your glove
- Get into Perfect Fielding Position on time, every time
|1.Teach Perfect Fielding Position (PFP)Place players in perfect fielding position by having them perform the following actions (shown in photo at right) and repeat the following terms:
- Glove foot forward
- Toe to heel (place throwing foot toe behind glove foot heel)
- Twice the width (spread glove foot to side, twice shoulders width, remaining toe to heel)
- Slip (slip elbows off knees)
- Slide (slide glove hand and throwing hand out front -this gets back flat)
The glove should be on the ground with palm facing to the sky.The throwing hand should be slightly above and to the side of the glove, with the thumb of the throwing hand pointed to the sky. Explain to players that they should be in Perfect Fielding Position when the ball is between 12-15 feet away.
- Knee – PFPPlace players on one knee. Command “PFP” and have them get into Perfect Fielding Position as quickly as possible. Repeat several times.
2. Teach Cover-Cradle-Separate
Place players in PFP. No ball is used until the short hop drill is performed. On the command “cover,” players cover an imaginary ball in their glove with the throwing hand. Repeat this several times,making sure players have glove on the ground and are catching the ball in front of their bodies rather than underneath them.Next, command “cradle” and have players bring their glove and throwing hand in toward their body (about 5-6 inches away)with their fingers pointed toward the center. Players should not raise up,except to raise their head slightly. Command “separate” and have players separate their hands only, about 3-4 inches apart, with their palms facing down. The elbows should still be pointing down, and should not raise or move from their position after the player had cradled. After players have covered, cradled and separated, you may command “pop” and have them pop to their throwing stance, turning their glove shoulder toward the instructor as if they were going to throw the ball to him.
- Cover-Cradle-Separate (Standing, without ball)
- Cover-Cradle-Separate (in PFP, without ball)
- Short Hop Drill (see photo below) Place players 12-15 feet apart, facing partner, Command “PFP” (both players get to PFP). Next, command “skip” (for younger players, use “roll”). Have players freeze after covering ball. Repeat this several times before allowing them to also cradle and separate after catching the ball. Eventually, command “cover” – “cradle” – “separate” – “pop” and have players pop to throwing stance, as if they were going to throw to their partner. On the last few times, have players cover, cradle, separate and pop after they catch the ball, without waiting for your commands.
3. Teach 1-2 Field
Explain to players that the only large steps they take when fielding a ground ball are the last two steps.These last two steps slow the fielder down and put him/her into Perfect Fielding Position. Demonstrate to players the first step in 1-2 Field. As in the photo below,the fielder has approached the ball off of his glove-hand side and taken a step with his throwing-hand foot straight ahead. The fielder’s chest goes down toward his thigh, with the glove remaining extended, palm to sky. On this step, it is important that the back starts to get flat, and the chest going to the thigh accomplishes this. Once players are in this position, command “Two” and have them step with their glove-hand foot out to the side, twice shoulder width,with feet aligned toe-to-heel (as shown below at right). On this step, the glove should hit the ground and they should now be in PFP. Repeat several times, with players starting in Step “One” and command “Two” to get them into PFP.
After players have performed the above several times, place them in running position, with feet shoulder-width apart and the glove-foot slightly forward. Make sure players have their glove extended with the palm to the sky. Command “One” and have them take the first step in 1-2 Field, landing on the ball of the foot with the glove still extended, and the chest going to the thigh. After a slight pause, command “Two” and have players take the second step in 1-2 Field, out to the side, placing them in Perfect Fielding Position.
- 1-2 Field (without ball – players start in running position)
- Short Roll – Place players 12-15 feet apart, facing partner. Command “Running Position” and player without ball assumes running position, with feet shoulder-width apart and glove foot slightly forward. Next, command “Roll.” Player with ball rolls ball to partner, who immediately performs 1-2 Field. First few times, have players freeze after covering ball. Then command “Cradle” – “Separate” – “Pop” and repeat several times. Finally, have players perform 1-2 Field and move through ball, shuffling to throw (but not actually throwing).
|4. Teach Ready Position Place players in athletic position, with feet spread twice shoulder width, flexed at ankles and knees, slightly bent at waist with weight on balls of feet. Glove is extended somewhere between letters and belt, palm to sky. Players rock weight from ball of (left) foot to ball of (right) foot continuously to create momentum in preparation to move to either right or left. Place players on knee. Command “Ready Position” and players get into ready position. With players in ready position, command “Run in Place” and have players run in place. With players running in place, command “Go” and have players perform 1-2 Field.
- Ready – Run – 1-2 Field
- Long Roll – Place players 60-90 feet apart (depending on age). Each set of partners has a baseball. Command “Ready” and partner without ball assumes ready position. Command “Roll” and partner with ball rolls it toward partner. Partner without ball approaches ball using short, choppy steps, keeping feet underneath body, until last two steps (1-2 Field). On the first few times, have players freeze after covering the ball. This will show if the player is getting into PFP on time. If player is not fielding ball in front in PFP, either glove is not extended, they are not performing 1-2 Field properly, or they are waiting too long to perform their 1-2 Field.