Very good baseball catching drill available to youth coaches
The minute a young ballplayer grabs a baseball bat, coaches and parents begin with some hitting tips for them. The same goes for throwing a baseball, as adults immediately coach kids how to throw correctly. Nothing is wrong with that. However, the minute a player catches a ball, things often go silent, as many adults do not know the correct catching technique.
Additionally, many coaches insist on two-hand catch, way before players learn to handle a ball glove and catch the ball the right way. In addition, many kids take a lot of time between catching the ball and throwing back when playing catch, wasting a lot of valuable practice time.
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The very first point that I try to get across to youth baseball coaches and players, when it comes to coaching “how to catch a ball,” is that the glove catches the ball, period, not the use of the bare hand. Of course, the bare hand is valuable for getting rid of the ball and to a lesser degree for body balance on some balls, but it is still the glove that catches balls. Having kids go to a two-hand catch method before they learn to handle the baseball glove is harmful to their development of catching the ball skills, as they rely on the bare hand to help catch balls, when that is not its purpose.
Following is a simple drill that coaches can use to help kids learn to catch the ball correctly, to handle the glove, to work on a good four seem grip and to get rid of the ball in a timely manner.
Baseball Catching Drill That has many Purposes
Player 1 holds a ball in their bare hand and a ball in their glove. The receiving player has a ball in their bare hand only. Player 1 throws the ball to player 2 and with player two’s bare hand occupied, they can only use their glove to catch the ball. As soon as player two catches the ball, they throw the ball in their bare hand back to player one, with no time wasted. Once delivering the ball, that player immediately switches the ball from glove to hand, giving them time to concentrate on finding the correct four- seam grip. This may seem complicated but it is not when in use, as players figure it out quickly.
As mentioned, this baseball catching drill promotes using the glove to catch balls, with little wasted time between catch and throw, and learning to get a good four seam grip. Of course, this does not guarantee players have the correct catching method of elbow to the side on balls directly at them, so coaches must still coach that. When players begin to catch balls correctly and handle the glove, coaches take away the second ball from their bare hand and coach the correct two hand catch method on throws players get their body in front of.
Finally, using softer balls for beginners is the best coaching catching drill method.