How to Coach: Infield #1 (Training)
This drill can be run anywhere, but is ideally ran on the infield dirt. Set up individual cones for the discussion period. Then, set up a cone triangle for repetitions. This means one triangle for the line and two triangles (to step forward and in between) for live repetitions. Finally, place a catch net 30 feet towards the direction of first base for throws.
Discussion – With all athletes at individual cones, teach the three execution keys below. In order, these are the first three keys to fielding a ground ball. Get to the (1) FIELDING TRIANGLE, use (2) ALLIGATOR HANDS to catch the ground ball, and (3) EXIT FOOTWORK to make the throw. Once you have verbally explained, visually shown, and actively practiced these three movements, move forward to the repetition area for execution.
Execution – Repetitions will begin with a ball in the glove. Using broken movements, guide each athelte through the three keys below. Begin in the fielding triangle, instructing proper positioning. Then, chomp down on the baseball (already in the glove) and slowly execute proper footwork. Start with broken movements, only advancing on your verbal cue. Slowly increase pace and flow as repetitions and execution increase.
Key #1: Fielding Triangle – This position is used to maximize the chances of success when fielding the ball. The base of the triangle is formed by two feet, and the hands represent the point of the triangle.
Key #2: Alligator Hands – When receiving the baseball, let the ball roll into the glove and then “CHOMP” down on that ball with the top hand. The keyword Alligator Hands works well as a visual and memorable phrase.
Key #3: Exit Footwork – Right foot step (ankle eye), left foot step (power), shuffle and throw.
- Ball in Glove – Start at the fielding triangle with a ball already in the glove and broken movements
- Slow Rollers – Start at the fielding triangle and roll the ball directly towards the glove (broken movements first, then more fluid)
- Normal Rollers – Feet can move to center the baseball
- Pop Footwork – Use the catch net to involve fun and competition. If needbe, throws to the net can earn points and a game can be played. Remember, focus is earned – use this trick to help your athletes lock in!
- Instruction Vs. Repetition – For the first repetitions, remember to keep the ball inside the glove. This simulates the movement that happens immediately after fielding the ground ball.
- Compete for Fun – The first step OUT of the fielding triangle is of the utmost importance. Start slowly with block movements and use the keyword Ankle Eye. There is an imaginary eye ball on the inside of the throwing-side foot. Step forward and get that ankle eye pointing towards the target.
That exit footwork will become a POP, so as athletes grow comfortable and build upon this drill. Celebrate athletes athletically and aggressively popping to the throwing position
- BALL IN GLOVE + BROKEN MOVEMENTS
- SLOW ROLLERS (BROKEN FIRST)
- ROLL GROUNDBALLS
- POP FOOTWORK
- INSTRUCTION VS. REPETITION
- COMPETE FOR FUN
- Baseball Buckets2
- Catch Net1