First base a one-handed position

In the past I’ve written about catching as being a one-handed position. That idea also extends to playing first base.

The reason is the same. There’s a lot of reaching at first base. And it’s easier to reach farther when you’re only using one hand.

Sure, if the ball is coming right to your chest a two-handed catch is fine. But for nearly anything else — especially balls in the dirt — going with one hand makes far more sense. That’s the reason for the design of first basemans’ mitts. The ball is supposed to nestle itself in the pocket without the benefit of a second hand helping out.

If you’re a first baseman, or working with a first baseman, have her practice catching with one hand. And if you’re a coach of a team, for goodness’ sakes quit yelling at your first baseman to use two hands. She’ll snag a lot more balls with one, and you’ll win a lot more games.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 4, 2011, in Catching, Fielding, Team defense. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Rick Cartwright

    I have a first baseman that has worked hard at doing just this. Problem was she kept dropping the ball. Turns out the problem was both her glove and the way she put her hand in it. She is using a 13″ outfileders glove and using the old index finger out way of placing her hand in it. I talked her into trying moving her ring and middle finger together and index finger in the middle finger spot. She thought it was weird until I showed her how I put my hand in my mitt (only way to catch with that one). Instant cure, she reaches and catches everything. Really gave her a boost in confidence.

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  2. That’s a great story, Rick. Funny the difference little things can make. I think that catching with two hands is so ingrained in us as coaches that we don’t see where it may not be the best choice. For most positions I like two hands. But if you have to reach, one hand is better. The change in the glove use sounds like a smart move.

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  3. Well Ken, another one of my favorite topics :>)

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  4. Oh yes, Rich, absolutely. I still think there are some positions that should use two hands whenever possible, outfield being one of them. Catching a fly ball with one hand, unless you’re stretching out to the max, is either lazy or an attempt to show off. But to me first basemen actually look awkward using two hands. More than that, though, using two hands reduces the ability to stretch, which is critical for a first baseman. Unless you’re looking to make an immediate throw, such as on a runner breaking for home after the throw to first, one hand just makes more sense.

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