Fielding Drills in Minimal Space
By Eric Tyler
Unfortunately, for baseball players all over the country: WINTER IS COMING! So the sad reality is that many of you may not have the luxury to throw some spikes on and head to the field for some ground balls. BUT, that shouldn’t keep you from honing your defensive skill for the upcoming season. This article reviews a few fielding drills that can easily be done in small spaces: like a basement, garage, or living room!
Short Hop Series
This is a common fielding drill that is simple, yet extremely effective. While this may seem monotonous and boring, there is no better way to develop hand-eye coordination and begin feeling how the hands work when fielding. I like to shut the lower-half off in this drill by working from a kneeled stance. All the fielder needs is a ball and a partner (a wall will also work). The goal is to mimic fielding the last hop of every ground ball. One thing to keep an eye on is that the fielder is taking his hand towards the ball and not swiping up or funneling into their chest/stomach. The emphasis is to secure the ball out in front and be able to adjust to different thrown hops.
✅ Horizontal glove presentation with elbow up, but in a relaxed position
✅ Allows adjustability. Forward to press or backward to lengthen hop if his feet can’t do it for him. Elbow bent and up also allows him to go up or down comfortably
— JB Eary (@jb_ears) February 20, 2019
One of my favorite fielding drills is the wall ball drill. I love this for fielders because it requires no one else and only includes a wall and a tennis ball. The fielder has the power to create any hop for themselves by throwing the ball against the wall at different speeds or heights. The emphasis with this drill is to allow the player the freedom to move and experience different short hops while using proper footwork.
The last minimal space drill in this series is for our middle infielders. Double play footwork around the base is something that can be practiced and perfected without much space needed. Allow the infielder the creativity and freedom to catch the feed and work their footwork to first base without the worry of the throw. To add a little challenge to the drill you can place an object in front of the base in the baseline that the fielder has to avoid as they make the transfer.
Embrace It All
While the best way to improve as an infielder is to go out and take ground balls, that option isn’t always available. So find a garage or even a hallway and get yourself better by knocking out these four drills. And remember, the greatest tool an infielder has is their creativity. Embrace it, don’t handcuff it!
Questions about these Drills?
Reach out to Eric: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Eric on Twitter: @_erictyler
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