Glove angle and pop-ups
Somewhere along the way at a fastpitch softball clinic I remember hearing a college coach saying that the proper way to catch a pop-up (or fly ball for that matter) is with the fingers pointing straight up. This is another one of those mysteries that seem to come up in our sport.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to do that? I’m here to tell you that’s bad advice.
This past summer we had a few girls who apparently had been taught that way. Of course, we kept dropping easy pop-up after easy pop-up. I had told and shown our girls a better technique, but old habits are hard to break. Not impossible, however.
After another loss due to a couple of easy drops, we spent a good part of practice working on a small but important change. Instead of holding the fingers straight up, turn the glove to the side and put the palm up. That creates a basket that the ball falls into naturally.
Of course, there was more to it than just practicing. I made it very clear that I no longer wanted to see the fingers up, and if another error was made using that technique there would be serious consequences.
The good news is there were no more drops the rest of the season. Every pop-up was fielded cleanly and we got the outs we were supposed to get.
Little things often make a big difference. Turn the glove sideways and palm up for those pop-ups and you’ll put an end to the drops.
Yes, there can be some backsliding with old habits. But some things just can’t be up for debate. Once I showed them how much easier it was to make the catch, and they experienced it themselves, they got on board. Mostly.