The Ole Ball Game

Do you have a drill that can teach a young SS a quicker transfer to throw and proper arm placement?


Shortstop getting his feet in a good position to throw

Shortstop getting his feet in a good position to throw

Shortstop drill to get the ball to 1st quicker.

Anonymous asked: My son is pretty athletic and coordinated (gets it from my wife) and gets to most balls but then loses time with an exaggerated transfer/reach back throw. He is generally very accurate but just a split second late on about 25% of his throws. He reaches back and almost point the ball to RF before throwing.

When he plays 2nd, this is not a problem as he typically has more time. He was predominantly 2nd base last year but the coach has plans to move him. We keep getting told he is a SS but that his delivery needs to be quicker to keep that spot.


Rick answered: Thank you for your question.

I would first suggest looking at his throwing motion. There is a rhyme you can use to check each step in the process, to see whether he has it correct or where he may be going wrong.

Rhyme: Thumb to the thigh
Knuckles to the sky
Elbow up high
Let it fly.

The shortstop in the picture above is just about to get into his throwing motion. His hands will seperate and he will take his throwing hand thumb to his thigh, then back and up to where, if he looks back at his hand, he should see the back of his hand, not the baseball.

That position keeps his elbow up, allows him to stay on top of the ball, which departs a backspin on the baseball on release.

If he has it correct, the ball will be spinning back towards him, not sideways.

Depending on the amount of time an infielder has on any given play, that motion can be shortened by going halfway to the thigh, simply shortening the circle.

If you go to throwing advanced, there is more detailed information on throwing.

Playing the infield is all about having quick feet. Getting to and through ground balls quickly is a big factor in success. For every step an infielder takes in getting rid of the ball, the runner is getting 2-4 steps, dependent upon his speed.

As an infielder comes through the ball, he is looking to get his feet underneath him, as the player in the picture has done, all the time gaining ground towards his target, step directly at his target with his front foot and throw.

Stepping off line will cause the players elbow to drop, which causes the ball to come out the side of his hand, ultimately leading to looping, off target throws.

If it looks like his trouble is not getting to balls quick enough, or not setting his feet quickly enough, you can roll him ground balls and have him come and get them, set his feet, over and over.

No need to throw, once he has the footwork, then add the throw.

So much of a players game is tied up in their ability to catch and throw the baseball.

Be quick, but under control.

Playing a lot of quick catch will also help with ball handling in general. From 15 to 25 feet apart, playing catch with a partner, seeing how many throws they can complete between each other in 30 seconds. Stress foot movement, getting their chest in front of the ball, not reaching for it and pulling it back. Quick feet, getting their body squared up to their target.

I would be interested to know the age and level your son is playing at. That would help to better analize what might work best for him.

Often younger players get to a ground ball and come to a complete stop to field it, thus losing all momentum for their upcoming throw. Something to look for. To it and through it!

It all takes time, repetitions. Going slowly, teaching it step by step is helpful so that they have a solid base built.

Hopefully this will provide you with some areas to look at. Good luck as you move ahead.

Yours in baseball,


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