THE Most Basic Fielding Tips
Entire books have been written on fielding strategy, and they are excellent.
But many people hate to read books. As a service to those folks, here are the two basic rules that will automatically improve your fielding dramatically.
THE Fielding Tip for Infielders
The great majority of grounders that get past infielders go under the glove. You can improve your fielding percentage dramatically by simply keeping your glove touching the ground when you field a grounder. If the ball hops up suddenly just as it reaches your glove, your reflexes will bring your glove up to meet it. But don't raise your glove early or the ball will probably skip right under it.
I had a manager once whose mantra was "If it goes over your glove, it took a bad hop and that's fine. But if it goes under your glove, you screwed up."
THE Fielding Tip for Outfielders
How often have you leisurely trotted to catch a fly ball, and your timing was off just a fraction of a second and you missed the ball? Or your foot hit a hole or bump in the turf, causing you to lose your balance just long enough to miss the ball?
Rather than time your run to reach the ball just as it falls into your glove, you should race to the spot where the ball will fall, get there before the ball does, and then stand absolutely still, glove just above your head, to make the catch.
By arriving early you have time to set yourself, and turn what could be a shaky acrobatic catch into a routine ball-falls-into-the-glove catch. And if by chance the ball should pop out of your glove, you have a second chance to grab it before it hits the ground if you keep your glove above your head when you make the catch.
Copyright 2008 Dan Hughes