One Drill to Help Youth Fielders Charge the Ball Better
By Eric Tyler
Charging groundballs is an issue many infielders struggle with. To fix that, Baseball Rebellion’s bringing back one of baseball’s oldest drill games.
Pepper is a game that has been around in the baseball community for decades. For just as long as pepper has been around, most youth infielders have failed to learn how to charge groundballs correctly.
I looked to the old-school pepper to try to help my young infielder learn the importance of charging the ball. As well as cutting down the distance between them and the ball. This has proven to be a fun, entertaining, yet challenging game for most of my students. The upbeat, active nature of the game makes it a great way to start a lesson or practice.
Not only is this drill useful for learning how to charge a groundball, but it also teaches the importance of accuracy when throwing. Many youth players either don’t care about making accurate throws or simply don’t know how to throw the ball accurately when not throwing 100%.
As an infielder, it is crucial to be able to throw the ball many different ways with different footwork and paces. Without making an accurate throw the hitter, the fielder loses or has to start the drill over.
3 Ways The Pepper Drill Can Help
1. Forces The Fielder To Charge Groundballs
This drill forces the infielder to move forward and cut down the distance between them and the groundball. If they simply throw the ball and wait for the groundball to come to them, they will never complete the drill. The longer it takes the player to close the distance all the way to the hitter, the more they are waiting back on their heels.
2. Teaches The Fielders To Throw The Ball Accurately With Intent
Many youth players don’t understand the importance of their throwing accuracy while training or practicing. Especially not in an indoor setting where the net will catch their errant throws and there isn’t any repercussion for inaccuracy. This drill, along with many others forces players to focus on making accurate throws while training. If the fielder makes an errant throw during the drill, they immediately lose or have to restart the drill.
3. Improved Reaction Skills
As stated in previous articles, I’m a firm believer that infielders have to be able to react fast to the unpredictable. Whether it be a crazy hop or a runner trying to take an extra-base. Infielders can never be caught off guard. This drill pushes infielders into unpredictable situations. The pace or direction of the ground ball may change with each hit. The player has to be able to react quickly and be ready for anything.
Questions about this Drill?
Reach out to Eric: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Eric on Twitter: @_erictyler
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