Using little props often helps players figure things out much quicker, which is the case with these excellent ground ball fielding drills.
Many ballplayers fail to understand what it means to stay down, get the glove out front, be under control, crow hop, take correct angles to balls, and get the best hops, when fielding ground balls.
The following ground ball fielding drills teach those fielding fundamentals, and they are especially good for indoor fielding.
The first drill simply has players catch balls in front of a board, forcing them to get down and reach out with the hands, before bringing the ball quickly back to the throwing hip. Once players get the feel for that, they add the crow hop to the drill, which has them hopping forward over the object towards their throwing direction. Notice the lazy footwork on this one, which does not help players get a strong throw.
Vairable Ways of Doing these Ground Ball Fielding Drills
Many variations of this drill are possible, as having players begin back and charge balls to the board, before getting under control to field and throw. Coaches can challenge players to charge quickly in this manner to try and beat the ball to the board, while still getting under control for a strong throw. Coaches can also add a second board and have players shuffle their feet left and right to field close hit balls, or have them charge balls slightly to the left and right with the two boards.
Another use of the on the ground object helps players learn to line balls up first before charging, as many kids charge first and create bad angles to balls. The wood board can be set even, as seen here, for balls to players’ sides, or set diagonal for rounding slower hit balls.
The final drill helps players learn to read and get the best hops on groundballs. Players have to decide whether to charge the ball or lay back. Coaches should help players understand that the best-case scenario for fielding groundballs is catching balls above the waist or on the short hop, but that when they cannot do either, it is best to lay back and position the feet for a strong throw. The worst-case scenario is getting balls on what is known as the in between hops – those between the knees and waist.
Continual use of these ground ball fielding drills develops solid fundamentals and good baseball instincts.