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Thread: Teaching to NOT field the in-between hop

  1. #1
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    Teaching to NOT field the in-between hop

    I started to teach my son about the in-between hop and how he should aim for the short-hop, or fielding it right before it hits the ground. I discovered that he actually sets himself up to get the in-between hop (or so it seems). He seems to try to field everything at the peak of the hop. I suspect he's been doing this for awhile now.

    So I want to teach him how to move forward and take it on the short-hop or at the very least, stay away from the in-between hop. How do I do this? If anyone can give me some ideas, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    3 hops: the big hop, the short hop, the in between hop.

    1st choice-get the big hop.2nd choice-the short hop. Ozzie doesn't even make a play on the in between hop.

    Years of practice, quick feet, thousands of ground balls. Awareness of what it means to "get the big hop".

  3. #3
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    pthawaii, a drill we did a lot when working with infielders was to set up a bucket or chair or... and go out half way to the player's position. Then, we threw groundballs and instructed. By throwing then, you can get a good angle on the ball and get a lot of repetitions on any particular ball. We did this for standard positions, for balls in the hole and for run through balls. Naturally, we moved back and hit fungos later on similar balls.

    pthawaii, have you done the footwork drills necessary for fielding a ball? Most of the footwork drills we did involved placing a ball on the ground in two or three positions and the players worked on footwork approaching the ball. I had players keep a ball in their glove so that they didn't have to replace the ball on the ground. So, the do thier "creep or crawl in" simulating their footwork on the pitch and then do the appropriate footwork to receive the ball and throw. They don't necessairly have to complete the throw.

    Finally, we talk to our players with certain cues. We "land a plane" and not a "helicopter." We "go quick to go slow." I believe in "bulldozer through the ball." (Fielding through the ball.)

    I don't know if any of this helps. Good luck.
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

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    We also used a pitching machine... You can quickly rotate infielders using all kinds of situations and positions. With a two-wheel Jugs-type machine you can set up most any kind of ground ball.

    More to your OP... I would teach NoT waiting for the ball to get to its peak.
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post
    Finally, we talk to our players with certain cues. We "land a plane" and not a "helicopter." We "go quick to go slow." I believe in "bulldozer through the ball." (Fielding through the ball.)
    Fielding through the ball gently pushing your glove out not swinging your arm and not using a lot of wrist. see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b82ZLeOZETQ Does that sound correct?

    After fielding the ball the glove comes up near the center of the abdomen to allow the body to be compact when the player needs to turn his body to make the throw. Yes?

  6. #6
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    Catch it anywhere to the right of the apex (on it's way down - approx 7 'dots' in this pic)

    TossedBall_ArcTrack.jpg

    If you can't time it on the way down, catch it on the first 'dot' on the way up (so that it bounces up into your glove).
    Last edited by songtitle; 12-10-2012 at 09:33 AM.
    eFastball.com hitting and pitching fact checker

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xraf View Post
    Fielding through the ball gently pushing your glove out not swinging your arm and not using a lot of wrist. see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b82ZLeOZETQ Does that sound correct?

    After fielding the ball the glove comes up near the center of the abdomen to allow the body to be compact when the player needs to turn his body to make the throw. Yes?
    Yes. I used to teach this with using a bat on the ground as the fielder attempts to field the ball. Ball in glove and ball on ground to simulate where the ball is. Bulldoze through the ball while working footwork over the bat on the ground. Then, gather to throw but gather to throw is using the body and arms and not just bringing the ball to waist or body. I hope that makes sense. I once had a great description of this drill but can't find it. I looked this morning. I tried to type this out before and members got confused so I don't want to confuse anyone and have someone trip over a bat on the ground. I hope this makes sense.
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    Catch it anywhere to the right of the apex (on it's way down - approx 7 'dots' in this pic)

    TossedBall_ArcTrack.jpg

    If you can't time it on the way down, catch it on the first 'dot' on the way up (so that it bounces up into your glove).
    Of course it matters how big the hop is. On a big chopper, for example, a fielder might choose to catch the ball at the top. So it just depends.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post
    Yes. I used to teach this with using a bat on the ground as the fielder attempts to field the ball. Ball in glove and ball on ground to simulate where the ball is. Bulldoze through the ball while working footwork over the bat on the ground. Then, gather to throw but gather to throw is using the body and arms and not just bringing the ball to waist or body. I hope that makes sense. I once had a great description of this drill but can't find it. I looked this morning. I tried to type this out before and members got confused so I don't want to confuse anyone and have someone trip over a bat on the ground. I hope this makes sense.
    Here is a video that I found interesting... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZXkJ2Jv660
    It's Oregon State's Marty Lees working with the infielders. It's just a sample of what goes on in their program but there are some good points to be picked out if you watch closely. I'm sure this isn't new to you Cannonball but for others who are reading this thread might benefit. The footwork comment made me think about this video, especially just after the 5 minute mark in the video.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pthawaii View Post
    I started to teach my son about the in-between hop and how he should aim for the short-hop, or fielding it right before it hits the ground. I discovered that he actually sets himself up to get the in-between hop (or so it seems). He seems to try to field everything at the peak of the hop. I suspect he's been doing this for awhile now.

    So I want to teach him how to move forward and take it on the short-hop or at the very least, stay away from the in-between hop. How do I do this? If anyone can give me some ideas, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks.
    When my son was a preteen he took 500-1000 grounders per week. He figured it out. It's an instinct situation. One time I suggest we go to the field closest to our house. My son insisted we needed to go to the LL field so he would know every hop on his LL field. In his early teen years in travel ball the infielders would exchange notes on their recollections of how the ball hopped on that particular field. Then after he had it all figured out as an all-conference shortstop soph year of high school, he was moved to center field. We started all over with "I have to know every bounce in this outfield from gap to gap."
    Last edited by tg643; 12-10-2012 at 03:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    Teach them to pick not funnel. Put him on his knees and throw him ground balls. Once he gets comfortable with picking I do a drill with my players. First let me explain what makes the drill good and then I will explain the drill.

    Most kids see the ball hit and then just go to field it. They never set it up. They are taught to charge everything and they field the ball when they get there. wheteher it is on a short hop or tweener. They are fielding to the ball because that is their only focus. Fielding the ball.

    Now the drill. He will screw it up at first but will start getting the hang of it. You hit ground balls. He has to yell out what hop he is going to field the ball on. So, if he yells 2 he had better get there before the ball hits the ground for the 3rd time. As he gets better he will be yelling out what hop he is going to field it on after it hits the ground the first time. This will get him to start reading the hops earlier and sitting up the hops to his advantage. Sometimes he will say 3 and have to wait a bit to field it on the 3rd hop but he will learn how to set his body up to field the ball properly.

    Now that you know the drill there is some other stuff you can do to help him be successful with the drill and fielding ground balls. I have my guys draw an "X" on the ground. I tell them as soon as the ball is hit get out of the "X". What they will learn to do, on balls hit right at them, is to set it up on the left because they cannot stay in the "X". Also, I never talk about just fielding the ball. I start with the throw. They have to learn how to move from the ready position to the throw. Fielding the ground ball is something that happens on the way to the throw. When a kid thinks about fielding. They generally do not keep their feet moving through the ground ball. If they are thinking about the throw. The only way to get there is to keep the feet moving. Visualize the throw and just field the ball in between the ready position and the throw.

    The majority of my infielders use this drill in games. They don't yell out the hop but they do say it in their head. They are good fielders and they said this mind set has made them better and gives them a more comfortable feel. They say it gives them control and takes the control away from the ball.

    Hope that helps and if you have any more questions please ask.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tg643 View Post
    When my son was a preteen he took 500-1000 grounders per week. He figured it out. It's an instinct situation. One time I suggest we go to the field closest to our house. My son insisted we needed to go to the LL field so he would know every hop on his LL field. In his early teen years in travel ball the infielders would exchange notes on their recollections of how the ball hopped on that particular field. Then after he had it all figured out as an all-conference shortstop soph year of high school, he was moved to center field. We started all over with "I have to know every bounce in this outfield from gap to gap."
    That is a dedicated kid. Those are the ones that are really fun to coach. My son was very similar. We are done hitting and he says, "we can't leave yet. I haven't got my ground balls in yet".

    Good stuff

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xraf View Post
    Fielding through the ball gently pushing your glove out not swinging your arm and not using a lot of wrist. see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b82ZLeOZETQ Does that sound correct?

    After fielding the ball the glove comes up near the center of the abdomen to allow the body to be compact when the player needs to turn his body to make the throw. Yes?
    I teach pushing through but I do use a bit of wrist to start the turn over of the glove. I do not teach the ball back to the abdomen because, IMO, it will stop the feet. I teach push through, start to roll over the glove and bring the ball to the throwing ear. I exaggerate it in drills. The upper arm stays pointed at the ball and the elbow hinges bringing the ball to the throwing ear. What this does is it gets the glove out of the way, so the power side foot has some where to go. If you pull back to your abdomen you trap the back leg.

    Now, in games they may not always do the exaggerated movement but they will pick through and get the glove out of the way. This also gets the ball up quick so you can get it in the air. For us, all feeds go to the ear. Nothing goes to the abdomen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post
    Yes. I used to teach this with using a bat on the ground as the fielder attempts to field the ball. Ball in glove and ball on ground to simulate where the ball is. Bulldoze through the ball while working footwork over the bat on the ground. Then, gather to throw but gather to throw is using the body and arms and not just bringing the ball to waist or body. I hope that makes sense. I once had a great description of this drill but can't find it. I looked this morning. I tried to type this out before and members got confused so I don't want to confuse anyone and have someone trip over a bat on the ground. I hope this makes sense.
    Bull dozing through is a pretty good description. Try to keep the glove on plane as long as possible. I try not to teach gather to throw. The fielding is the throw. That is why I teach throwing as part of the fielding. Just place a ball in the glove and have them shadow a ground ball and throw. The reason I am not a fan of gather. Is it gives a sense of fielding stopping to gather and then throw.

    I know that is not what you advocate but sometimes words can trip up young players.

  15. #15
    what does "funnel" mean?
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and can’t run, most of the time he’s clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. – Dusty Baker.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    what does "funnel" mean?
    It means "giving' with the ball, kind of like what you would do to catch an egg so that it doesn't break. The hands give and then continue on to the stomach area.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xraf View Post
    Here is a video that I found interesting... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZXkJ2Jv660
    It's Oregon State's Marty Lees working with the infielders. It's just a sample of what goes on in their program but there are some good points to be picked out if you watch closely. I'm sure this isn't new to you Cannonball but for others who are reading this thread might benefit. The footwork comment made me think about this video, especially just after the 5 minute mark in the video.
    Good stuff. I like what he is saying, Get the ball up and attack the ball with your power side foot. Exactly what I teach. Only a couple of thing I noticed that I teach differently. I teach the back hand with the right foot out. Not reaching across the body. Also, I teach my 2nd basemen to stay on the outfield side of the bag on feeds from SS. Go through the bag on feeds from the 3rd baseman.

    After watching this I may have to rethink the 2nd baseman going through the bag on all throws. If it gives an advantage or not.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    what does "funnel" mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    It means "giving' with the ball, kind of like what you would do to catch an egg so that it doesn't break. The hands give and then continue on to the stomach area.
    Exactly. Just funneling the ball back to your belly button. Some believe that you cannot have soft hands unless you funnel. If you have relaxed hands they will be soft.

  19. #19
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    Purchase, borrow, or steal a copy of Bill Stubbs "Mastering Infield Play"......the best infield instructional video I've seen/used.

    Here's a little Youtube ad from one of it's creators......



    .....the youngsters featured in the above clip are fun to watch if nothing else.

    Here are the chapters of the video:
    1. Pre Pitch Steps… developing rhythm
    2. Triangle Fielding Principle… proper feet & soft hands
    3. Getting Up Into The Ball… getting aggressive
    4. Setting Your Feet… variables of ball & runners speed
    5. Balls To Your Left… routine & tough plays
    6. Balls To Your Right… 2 forehands & 2 backhands
    7. Improve Your Hands… softening & good positioning
    8. Common Infielders Faults… and corrections
    9. Making Tough Plays – full extension to your left
    10. Making Tough Plays – full extension to your right
    11. Making Tough Plays – bang bang plays
    Last edited by mudvnine; 12-10-2012 at 04:26 PM. Reason: To add chapter list.
    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by HYP View Post
    Exactly. Just funneling the ball back to your belly button. Some believe that you cannot have soft hands unless you funnel. If you have relaxed hands they will be soft.
    HYP, check your pm. Thanks

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HYP View Post
    Bull dozing through is a pretty good description. Try to keep the glove on plane as long as possible. I try not to teach gather to throw. The fielding is the throw. That is why I teach throwing as part of the fielding. Just place a ball in the glove and have them shadow a ground ball and throw. The reason I am not a fan of gather. Is it gives a sense of fielding stopping to gather and then throw.

    I know that is not what you advocate but sometimes words can trip up young players.
    That is why I tried to describe using the footwork as a part of fielding the ball. I don't like the "gather" aspect because it stop fluid play. However, there are some that I have had to coach in the past who are not athletic enough, mature enough, ... to get the angles and footwork right at the start. Good footwork makes picking the ball easy and you know when you have a special infielder because they are so smooth at it.
    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

  22. #22
    What do guys in the bigs tend to do-gather/funnel or pick? From what I see it's funnel.

  23. #23
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    I had fun watching this:

    Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Cannonball View Post
    I had fun watching this:

    Excellent, thanks.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    What do guys in the bigs tend to do-gather/funnel or pick? From what I see it's funnel.
    They do both but I would say for the most part they pick. You will see more of a funnel feel on routine plays but remember they are throwing the ball 90 across the field. IMO, funneling and playing through are 2 different things.

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