Getting into ground ball position
Watch the typical youth player working on fielding ground balls. More often than not, what you’ll see is a bend at the waist, with the arms hanging down like an orangutan and the ball being fielded at the feet.
There are any number of reasons for this poor technique. One is actually some of the coaching we do. We tell our fielders to get their gloves on the ground. So they follow those directions, taking the shortest distance between two points — a straight line. And that straight line is directly below her belt.
What we need to do instead is tell them to lower their hips. When their hips are lowered the glove will also get onto the ground, but a little more forward, forming the point of a triangle. (The feet are the base of the triangle.) Lowering the hips also allows the head to stay up so fielders can watch the ball all the way in — as opposed to bending at the waist, which causes the head to point down.
Try it. Get in the athletic position with the hands in front, then move down by lowering the hips. You’ll be in a much better position to both see and field the ball. And the nice thing is it’s a very specific instruction.
Posted on April 27, 2009, in Fielding. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I tell my younger kids to “sit on the toilet”. I use this as a batting analogy as well. They seem to comprehend it immediately because they easily relate. My 4YO fields ground balls like this. He tells himself out loud, “sit on the toilet, alligator, separate, throw. It works perfect!
Coach, that’s a great image and one that’s fun for the kids while being accurate. If you can give them something they can relate to from personal experience, and give them a smile as well, the lesson will tend to stick better. I’ll have to keep that one in mind.