Infielders of all skill levels can struggle fielding ground balls. Sometimes the poor quality of the infield is to blame, but usually it’s something simple that the fielder is doing wrong that causes the first few misses and then everything snowballs.
There are some solutions for correcting this problem, so make sure you know them!
First, let’s review some basics for fielding ground balls!
- A player must use her KNEES to lower herself to the ground and NOT her waist.
- A player must keep her hands (including her glove) in front of (forward of) her head to allow her eyes to see both the glove and the ball (at the same time) without having to take her eyes quickly off the ball in order to see the ball into her glove.
- Field the bottom of the ball.
Here are 4 drills to help infielders practice these 3 key fundamentals:
- Barehand Zip Balls:
- Have the fielder get about 8-10 feet from you, without a glove, and slowly roll simple ground balls to her using Zip Balls
- Have her field the Zip Ball in her barehand using her fingers to field the bottom of the ball
- Be sure she uses her knees to lower herself to the ground
- Take your time in this drill as players like to rush. Go slow and have her really feel her fingers fielding the bottom of the Zip Ball
- Counting Bounces:
- Have your player put her glove on and move back about 30-40 feet
- Now slowly hit groundballs to her
- She must count -OUTLOUD – each time the ball bounces to her
- This sounds easy but will take her a few tries
- Even if she isn’t saying the numbers really loud, just the act of concentrating that hard on seeing the number of bounces will make her use her eyes better and will help her improve her fielding skills
- Call the Ball:
- This drill involves the player putting her glove on and getting about 40-50 feet away from you
- You will hit her groundballs (not too hard at first) and she will look to see which part of the ball you hit: Top, Middle, or Bottom, and call it OUTLOUD after you hit it
- At first, she’ll say it after she’s fielded it – that’s normal. It will take your players awhile to get to the point where they can call it out as soon as you hit it. But, even if their verbal response is slow, they’re still focusing on watching you hit the ball and seeing which part of the ball you hit
- This helps your players predict how the ball will come to them based on what part of the ball was hit:
- Top – means ball will go down
- Middle – means ball will be hit harder
- Bottom – means ball will be hit up
- Belly Pops:
- I also suggest using the following fielding eDrill to help your infielders with ground balls: Belly Pops.
- Not only is this drill good for quick reactions and glove work, it’s also a great upper body workout and it’s fun!
For more great drills and training aids on this topic check out: