The proper way to field a ground ball
What’s the proper way to field a ground ball?
A routine ground ball is the ball right at you.
- Balls you have to range left or right is considered a backhand or forehand.
- Approach- dictating what kind of ground ball it is….
- Top spin, back spin or side spin. Big hop, rolling, or slow roller.
- Reaction- how hard is the ball hit.
Those four points will determine how we field the ground ball. All these techniques is as if you are a right handed thrower. If your a left handed thrower you would field the exact opposite of what is said.
Techniques and fundamentals of how to field a ground ball.
Pre Position with you Body
As the ball is crossing the zone(Plate) you should be getting low or into an athletic stance to react. Maybe have a slight movement forward into it is ok as well.
being low with your chest and head will give you a better view of what kind of spin and hop the ball has. It is quicker to start low and come up on a ball then to start high and try to go down on the ball.
As you get your pre pitch position you should be anticipating what kind of hop you are about to get. Depending on what pitch it is and reading the hitters stance and swings will help with you anticipation. Even if your wrong with what you were anticipating, you will have momentum and better reaction on the ball because you are moving.
Angles to Field the Ball
Right handed throwers we have to create angles to field and throw… creating the right angles we have to get to the right side of the ball as soon as we can. Once you get to the right side of the ball you still continue to play through the ball with your momentum towards first base. As you approach the ball you square it up which means you field slightly on the left of your belly button or in front of your left boob. With this its like a 2 step, where its right, left field.
When playing the infield your footwork should never stop.. that doesn’t mean you go 100 MPH to the ball, it means 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 very important because it creates the rhythm and timing to be in the perfect position to field.
Glove Work and Transfer
Once your footwork takes you to the ball and you get your right, left field, your glove “arm” takes over and you should pick/field the ball. Once you field the ball you will take your glove directly to your right hand(or throwing hand). As your taking your glove to your throwing hand which is near your face your eyes see the transfer which makes it more consistent. As your glove is going to your throwing hand your right foot should step in front of your left foot going towards first base. The play will dictate that your footwork shuffles which is ok too. On routine plays you should always have the right foot step in front of the left foot.
Momentum through the Ball
Learning to field with momentum and under control through the ball. You want to feel as if you are nonchalant with a ton of momentum and rhythm through the ball. You should never have to stop your momentum to field. All your actions are in rhythm and smooth which is called economy of motion while fielding. Not only are your feet working through the ball but your glove arm has to work through the ball as well.
Under Control and Relaxed
Learning to stay under control with your actions and acting like you are an expert at fielding ground balls will allow you to be more confident and consistent. Once you do that you will learn to explode through your throw also. Under control and relaxed makes your actions quicker and smoother.
Infielders we are taught to short arm the ball which is good because we have to get rid of the ball quickly. With that being said, I teach players how to short arm by spinning the ball as much as they can every time you throw. Learning how to spin the ball by short arming you will see how much the ball really does carry. If you get directly on top and behind the ball with your throwing hand with a ton of momentum, you wont have to throw the ball that hard and you will see your ball carrying a lot more. As infielders we shouldn’t have to crank or throw the ball as hard as we can. There are very few plays that you have to do that. Infielders need to learn how to throw from many arm angles because of the plays we have to make as infielders… thats why it is important that we learn to short arm and get carry on the ball.