The Ole Ball Game

Infield ~ Quick Hands And Quick Feet!

eyes track ball into glove

Baseball infielders, close to the action and ready to react in a split second. The essentials for an infielder? Quick hands and quick feet.

The videos below are from Valle Baseball, they provide some insight into the value of training with a smaller glove.

The smaller glove forces the player to get into the proper position and look the ball into the glove.

There are many companies that make some form of infield trainer, from flat pancake gloves, to various versions of a smaller trainer.

I have always used just a very small youth glove to work with infielders; but the problem comes in the inability to fit larger hands into those gloves.

The companies are now making these gloves with the ability to fit everyone, helps make your drills run smoother.

I have a niece and nephew who are both left handed. Other than the pancake models, left handed has been impossible to find.

Recently I ran across Valle Baseball's Website and the series of gloves shown in the videos below. They have these for both left and right, and even make a model which is an 11" first baseman's glove.

If you haven't tried a small glove with your players, once you do, you and they will like the results, no matter which source you purchase one from.

Rawlings has a 5 tool trainer, which is what I currently am using. It does the job also, though not as advanced as the Valle.

I used one infield and one first baseman's glove with our varsity infielders this past season. As a team, we averaged under one error per game for the season.

We took ground balls with them, 1B's worked on picking throws in the dirt as well, it certainly provided the players with some additional confidence.

The smaller glove forces fielders to look the ball into their glove. Once they develop that habit, errors decrease, confidence increases.

Looking at the images below, you could say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

These images were taken roughly 65 years apart. What worked for Johnny Pesky in the 1940's is still working for the high school player of today.

As with societies fashions, "what goes around, comes around" is prevalent in baseball also.

Johnny Pesky, Red Sox, 12 years MLB ~ lifetime avg .307
perfect infield ready position

The Basic Skills For An Infielder ~ Fielding A Ground Ball And Throwing The Runner Out

Pre-pitch set position

shortstop and third baseman in their pre-pitch set

  • Feet, shoulder width apart.

  • Glove side foot a little ahead of throwing side foot.

  • Glove out in front.

  • Knees flexed, head up.

  • Weight on the balls of the feet.

Fielding Position

Positioning perfection

  • Feet shoulder width apart

  • Glove foot a little ahead of throwing foot.

  • Glove out in front.

  • Infielders feet and glove should form a triangle.

  • Knees take your glove to the ground.

  • Field the ball at the top of the point of the triangle, out in front of your body.

  • Head down, from out in front someone should be able to see the button on the top of your cap.

  • Stay down and "through" the ball, looking the ball into your glove.

  • Field the ball on your glove side eye, this gets you around the ball, so you can see it a little from the side. Easier to judge hops than straight on.

  • Field the ball with both hands, work on catching the ball in the heel of the glove, so it doesn't stick in the web. Also makes it easier for a quick release and throw.

Square Up To Your Target, Gain Some Ground, Set your Feet And Throw

feet set
arm action

  • Picture 1, once a ball has been fielded, the player needs to quickly get his body squared up to his target, that is, glove side alignment: knee, ankle, shoulder, hip should be facing the target, with hands together at chest.

  • Picture 2, arm action. Hands come apart with thumbs under ( like cracking an egg ) while taking the thumb in a short arc, to the belt and back. Knuckles to the sky, elbow up high. In this picture, the player is almost to the power position. His glove is pointed at his target, body alignment is closed. He is about to take his knuckles to the sky, which will put his throwing elbow at shoulder height, the back of his throwing hand facing target.

Step On Line And Throw

set your feet

  • Get squared up to your target, gain some ground and turn it loose.

Infield Tips ~ From the Dugout

Infield Tips ~ from the dugout

  • Move your feet!

  • Field ground balls lined up off your glove side eye. This gets you to the side a little where you are better able to judge hops.

  • Receiving ~ Ball is soft in, quick out.

  • Use two hands whenever possible, it will make you quicker.
  • use two hands whenever possible, it will make you quicker

  • Get around the ball, to the ball and through the ball.
  • around it, to it, through it

  • If you bobble the ball, pick it up with your bare hand, not your glove.
  • If you bobble the ball, pick it up with your bare hand

  • Work on your quickness every day, your feet and your hands.

  • Communicate constantly with the pitcher, other infielders and the outfielder on your side of the field.

The Basic Things To Think About Pitch To Pitch:

  • How many outs

  • Score

  • Inning

  • Where is the force?

  • Where is my short throw? Am I somebodies short throw?

  • Speed of base runners, as well as the batter.

  • Every field plays different. Know if the grass is slow or fast, rough or smooth. Make your positioning adjustments based on the information gathered.

Brooks Robinson, 23 yrs MLB, career .971 field %, 15 yr All Star, 4 World Series ~ Nickname; Hoover

It's A Pretty Sure Thing That A Player's Bat Is What Speaks Loudest When It's Contract Time; But There Are Moments When The Glove Has The Last Word! ( Brooks Robinson )

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Step up to the plate and put the ball in play!

It only takes a few minutes.

Solid resources for other categories:

Baseball Resource

baseball equipment, building dreams for over 170 years, one player at a time

Louisville Sluggers. 1920's

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