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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coaching Youth Baseball - Coaching Your First Baseman

Coaching Youth Baseball - Coaching Your First Baseman
By guest author: Nick Dixon

Here are important points and skills that you must teach your First Baseman.

Getting to the Bag When the Ball is Hit

The First Baseman must get to the back immediately when the ball is hit by the batter. He should position his body to face the infielder making the play. The feet should be slightly apart, wide enough to straddle the bag, and near the bag. Straddling the bag allows him to stretch in any direction to field the throw.

Setting Up to Receive the Throw

It is crucial that the First Baseman learn to wait until the thrown ball is released and the throws path is determined before stretching. Waiting to the last moment allows the first baseman to adjust the feet and stretch to field wild or errant throws.

Stretching too early is a bad habit that must be identified and corrected. The ball must be caught. It is the first baseman's duty to do whatever he has to to stop or catch the ball. If he must come off the bag, then he must. Allowing the ball to get by will in most cases allow the batter runner advance to 2nd base. Good first basemen always find a way to catch high, low or wide throws. Coming off the bag is not a sin. Letting the ball get by is!

Teach the first baseman not to panic on short hops or balls thrown in the dirt. He should learn to play the short-hop. Fielding the short hop is a skill that must be practiced. He must understand that low throws are simply ground balls. He is an infielder and he must field those "thrown grounders".

How to properly stretch to catch the ball.

The leg extended in the stretch should be the glove side leg. Right handed first basemen extend the left leg and left-handed first basemen extend the right hand. The foot on the bag should be held on the front corner.

In later articles, I will cover coaching tips on teaching the first baseman to field, throw, and how to hold runners.

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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