Get low—so nothing gets by.
| 3 min read
There’s a lot to teach when it comes to fielding a ground ball. The list goes on and on… just like a missed grounder.
As with everything baseball and softball, reps are the way to make a skill come together. A coach’s job is to put kids in a position where they can practice all the things. That’s where these ground ball drills come into play. One, they’re fun – so kids will want to do ‘em. And two, they focus on different parts of the movement so eventually your players will have it down – and not a grounder will get by them.
This drill is a great place to start with first-time players. Kids kneel on the ground while a coach rolls grounders their way. The sole focus is getting the ball in the glove. No need to worry about feet, knee-bending or side shuffling. This is a great one for practicing getting the glove on the ground, too.
Kids are on their feet for this classic drill. Take this opportunity to practice ready position — knees bent, palms up. A coach rolls a grounder to the first player in line. Remind players to center their body to the oncoming ball and get in the fielding triangle position – feet apart, knees bent low, glove on the ground in front of the body. Kids make a big alligator mouth with their glove arm stretched down and their other hand above the glove ready to gobble up the ball. Remind them to watch the ball all the way into the mouth… er, glove.
Kids love this one because they actually get to lay in the grass on their bellies. Coaches yell “Up!” as they roll a grounder toward a player who jumps up and fields the ball. The first step in fielding a grounder is seeing where the ball is rolling. This drill helps kids track the ball as they move their bodies. It’s also a fun way to improve reaction time.
This drill has players working in pairs, facing one another. A player rolls a ball to one side of their partner. That player side-shuffles in the right direction to center their body to the ball. After fielding it correctly – glove down, triangle position, pop – the player throws the ball back. After a couple grounders on each side, switch the fielder and roller so everyone gets practice.
Kids should be comfortable moving in either direction to stop a grounder. These reps will help hone their lateral movement and perfect their exit footwork.