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.
Not sure what infield position he plays, but an experienced infielder will read several things in a short amount of time, and simply let instinct take over.
"An act of skill is one in which a man does more things at once than there is time to think about it." - John Ciardi (From, The Life That Ruth Built)
They will know the surface of the infield. They will read the velocity, angle, and projected bounce pattern of the ground ball. They will read the speed of the runner and how much time is required to throw him out.
All of this information is known and processed in an instant. Sometimes it means the fielder takes an extra risk, as in making a barehanded attempt if the velocity and/or bounce pattern of the grounder changes, and the speed of the runner requires a gamble. Might pay off, might not. Teaching a youth though, I would get him to understand these things. If it means having runners simulate from home to first while he take "choppers" so be it. Might be the key that unlocks the door forever.
There is a definite window between the short and long hop that any fielder would prefer stay out of. The in-between. That split second read is crucial. Sometimes the factors I mentioned earlier, require an unorthodox chance of an in-between, but for the most part, you are safe in either staying back, or coming in. Coming in and scooping the short hop is not a bad option, as the glove is already coming up into throwing position, and the ball has had less time to change direction.
Try hitting him semi-choppers and making a game out of. Better yet, what we've done, is have the infielder take short hops with the first baseman who practice digging. Against a backstop, throw them short hops to they get the feel, backhand and forehand. Then, when they're comfortable with that, mix in some in-between and watch them struggle. The switch will click in their head, that they must make a decision upon reading that trajectory. Either come in, or sit back.
"I played the first game of a legion tournament wasted my senior year. Got hit in the balls by a grounder in the first inning and went 2-4 and puked in the cornfield behind the football stadium. That was the first and last time I ever did that." - bluesky5
This is a very important difference between HS and MLB. Great point.
To some degree, even more important now in HS--as compared to two years ago--with grounders coming off the BBCOR bats somewhat slower.
To Keep It Simple, my coaching mantra is: Field the ball aggressively on the short hop.
Obviously, that doesn't cover all situations.
It's fun to watch the progression from frosh to JV to V as the infielders adapt to the decreasing time window.
For that reason, I spend considerably more time drilling my guys on slow-hit balls--slow rollers, slow bounding balls up the middle--than I do on hard-hit ones.
Our HSV coach (good guy; good coach) takes the opposite approach. He likes to challenge infielders with hotshots. Similar to the coach in "Dodgeball", throwing wrenches.
Last edited by skipper5; 12-11-2012 at 08:51 AM.
HS guys tend to throw TOO hard, in my view. Sometimes trying to impress people. Mostly because they don't know any better. Bad footwork, too.
Hyp, a couple questions:
1. Do you teach your kids to "round" the ball? If yes, how do you teach it.
2. In your counting hops drill, WHEN do the kids yell the hop that they will field the ball?
Thanks. Good stuff.
2) When they first start, they will probably yell it out as soon as they field it. The idea is to yell it out as close to the ball leaving the bat as possible. The idea is, as they yell out the number of the hop they believe they will field the ball on, forces them to set it up. For instance, a player may think 2 but really should have been 3. They are forced to charge and get it on 2. Vice a versa, they may think 3 but realize they could have got there on 2 but they have to keep the feet moving and maintain their rhythm and field it on the 3rd hop. At some point they will be able to call out the correct hop all the time and early. This helps them with learning how to "play the ball" versus the "ball playing them".
Hope that makes sense.
Great stuff in this thread guys, I've cut and pasted it to my Word file of tips. My son isn't quite there yet with a lot of the advice, but it'll be good stuff to keep in mind as he develops and get's older.
I figured I'd try something new. I see lots of people post swings, but not much defensively. So here he is taking a few grounders. I figure probably lots wrong, but I'm interested in what you think is MOST wrong, or maybe better worded, the FIRST thing you would want to work on if he wanted to try to improve over the winter break (for people that know me, I don't like to work on too many things at once, so one or two things for winter would be enough) Thanks!
Here is a fielding progression for EDD (every day drills). We start everyday this way.
1) No glove on both knees. Just roll grounders at him. Have him field ball out front and take it up to his right ear.
2) Stand up and do the same thing. No step through to throw. Just field like on knees and take the ball up to his right ear. Have him get use to shifting weight from right leg to left leg as he fields. Not a big transfer. Kind of like a rocking from right to left.
3) Now, move to a step through. Same as drill 2 but as he fields he steps in front with his right foot and gets to a strong throwing position. So, he rocks from right to left as he fields. Right foot continues through in front of left and "pushes" his hands to his right ear. Hands move up to right ear and right foot replaces the hands.
4) Do the same thing as #3 but take your hat off. Turn it over and place the bill of your hat in your mouth. This forces the player to look out and field the ball out in front.
5) put glove on and get back on your knees. Partner is about 4 to 5 feet away on knees and throws low short hops. Just have him working on picks out front. As he picks, it is a small wrist move and he rolls his glove over and up to the ear as he fields. Push through the ball and roll the glove over and up to his right ear. You also do this at a 45 to forehand and then to backhand.
6) Stand up and repeat #5 with the transfer of weight from right to left.
7) same as #6 but with the step through added in.
Probably tough to follow but if you have questions please ask.