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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baseball Fielding Technique and Fundamentals

By Ruth Cracknell

Good fielding technique is crucial for baseball players. In this article you will find drills and tips to help develop fine fielders.

"Show The Button"

For all-around fielding practice on ground balls, managers will find this to be a good outdoor drill:
put a boy at normal infield depth. Put a second boy 20 feet behind him to back up. Off to the left of the fielder, at about 15 feet, place a third boy. Have a fourth boy stand next to the hitter, but also to the fielder's left, to feed balls to the hitter.

Get six or a dozen baseballs and constantly hit to the right and left of the fielder. Have the fielder put his right hand in his back pocket and field the ball with glove only. And, still with the glove hand, instruct him to shovel the ball to the boy waiting at his left.

This boy tosses to the one assisting the coach. After several hits to either side, the fielder takes the back-up position, the others rotate clockwise.

The coach wants to compliment when compliments are in order, correct defects when they appear. He should keep telling the fielder to "show the button of your cap ... show the button of your cap." If the coach sees the button, which is right on top of the head, he can be sure that the fielder is watching the ball go in the glove. On the other hand, if he sees the letter just above the peak of the cap, he knows the boy has his head "up". "Don't show the letter," he should say. "Show that button!"

Boys enjoy this drill and it serves to develop the important habit of keeping the glove low and the eyes on the ball.

Fly Chasing

When chasing a fly, fielders should try to get under the ball as quickly as possible and wait for it to descend. Amateur players shouldn't attempt to catch the fly ball on the run if it isn't necessary. Every player should get in the habit of adjusting the body to throwing position after every catch-whether during practice or a game.


Throwing, like batting, gives the beginner a good deal of trouble, despite the theory that boys throw "naturally." To get a youngster to start and continue this aspect of his fielding technique correctly, a manager might instruct him as follows:

Draw a line on the ground about three feet long, with one end pointed at the target. Straddle the line at the opposite end with the feet about six inches apart. Raise the elbows sideways in relaxed fashion until they are at shoulder-height. (Following movements are for right hand throwers, opposite for left.)

Twist the body right, take a normal step forward with the left foot, bringing it down to the left of the line. As the left foot strikes the ground, sharply twist hips and shoulders to the left. Pick up the right foot and bring it down near the left. Return to the original position, then repeat several times.

To work in the movement of the throwing arm, the manager can add these instructions:

raise the throwing elbow sideward to shoulder height. Raise the hand to a position directly above it, with palm facing target. Bend wrist and hand back as far as they will go. Pull the elbow back as far as it will go. Twist the body toward the throwing hand slightly. Raise the left hand and elbow to shoulder height. Now-start the step, stretch the left hand toward the target; bring the throwing arm forward, elbow leading.

The elbow should be about opposite the throwing shoulder as the front foot hits the ground. As the striding foot hits, the upper torso twists left, the throwing hand snaps forward and down. Put all the movements together and practice them until the throw becomes easy and rhythmic. If the ball does not strike the target at the right height, it is being released too soon, or too late.

Remember practice is the key to developing a great fielding technique.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick