Wednesdays Web Gems Tips – Push up for Defense and Strength
Often, youth baseball coaches have to do more than tell kids how to play the game. They have to convince players why they should do things a certain way. Sometimes, they do this in a round about way, where they teach one thing that helps in another way.
Staying down, when approaching the ball, is a key fundamental for good fielding. Getting kids to do that is not always easy. However, most kids love to make spectacular plays, most of which involve leaving their feet to dive for balls. As a way of getting them to understand the importance of staying down, I inform players that the opportunity to make great plays cannot be possible without staying down, be it a ground ball or fly ball. Diving from a straight up position generally leads to failed catches and possible injury. So, if they want to have the opportunity to make the great play, “Stay down.”
Another coaching tip that has dual purposes is the following. “Do your pushups.” Just like fielding routine ground balls takes a lot of practice, learning how to dive for balls, by landing with their body face down and body square to the ground (not on the hip or shoulder), takes a lot of practice. Along with diving correctly to avoid injury, having the strength to push their body up quickly from that position is essential.
This strength gained with old-fashioned pushups helps all facets of a players’ game.