Fielding a ground ball hit to you
Hands down facing the batter, knees bent so the glove gets down (butt down..gets the hands down and provides good balance). This is perfect if the ball is right to you. But what if the ball is not hit to you? You have to move your feet!
Get in front of the ball, and you have to move your feet quickly to do that.
As coaches we want our players to be in front of the ball because if there is not a clean catch the body still gives protection of keeping the ball from escaping the infield. I like to emphasize in boys youth baseball to use their eyes also. You cant catch what you cant see. If you move your feet to get in front of the ball have your glove in front where you can see the ball come into the glove, the youth player has a better chance of a good catch and making the play.
Fielding a ground ball to the right or left
There are two methods two catch this ball. One is the Shuffle step. This is used when the ball is hit just a little to either side and you can quickly get to the ball still in ready position. If the ball is hit to the left you shuffle step with left foot and the right foot moves quickly after to stay in the ready position.It's the opposite if the ball is hit to the right. 2 or 3 quick shuffle steps can be done by any youth baseball player in the ready position to field a close ground ball.
The second method is the Crossover. When the ball is a little farther away to the left..to move quickly to the ball the right foot will crossover in front of and past the left foot. The opposite is done for a ball hit to the right. Left over Right or Right over left is used when you need to get to the ball quickly and is far enough away you cant shuffle to it. A key point in doing the crossover is not to stand up. A good youth baseball tip is to remain bent at the waist during the crossover to keep from wasting time.
Author- Brian McClure
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