Wednesday Web Gems – Glove Only Practice
Great Groundball Fielding Drill
This ground ball fielding drill helps caoahes analyze which players have stiff hands and which have soft hands.
When using two hands many players do not line balls up as well, become stiff-handed, and/or use their bare hand to help secure balls. It is important to find out whether these players have a stiff glove, get stiff when using two hands or get confused with the fundamentals, when using two hands.
Correct fundamentals demands two hands on ground balls that fielders get in front of, with the bare hand directly on top of the glove when catching. However, many young players use incorrect two hand fundamentals or use the bare hand as a crutch, in case the ball pops out of the glove. Better, softer hands are necessary in either case. The following drill helps identify the problem and helps with the development of catching balls with the glove only without having to secure balls with the bare hand.
Players place their bare hand behind their back for groundballs and only use their glove to catch all ground balls.
Analyzing the results of the ground ball fielding skill
Sometimes, players are much better at catching groundballs with one hand than with the correct two-hand method, which suggests they get confused by using two hands. In this case, coaches should review their two hand fundamentals and go back to working on that method.
For most players though, the glove hand is stiff and shaky. In this instance, players should continue with the one hand catch drill until they develop softer hands. Over time, these players will become better at handling the glove and catching balls in the glove, without needing to use their bare hand to secure the ball.
Beginning ground ball fielding practices with the glove only catch, before having players shift back to the correct two-hand method is a good practice habit. Of course, coaches should be sure players do not develop the one handed method as their normal way, along with being sure players take the ball out of their glove without flipping it out.
As a coach, I am continually reminding young players, “The glove catches the ball, and the bare hand is right there to get rid of the ball quickly. Both are needed to become a solid fielder.”