How to Develop Proper Technique to Catch a Baseball Like a Pro

Everyone dreams of hitting a home run in front of seventy-thousand fans in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. But there is plenty that goes into baseball aside from just what is done at the plate. After all, you’ve probably heard time and time again that defense wins championships. In order to be a great baseball player, you need to have well-rounded talent. That includes being able to catch a ball when you are in the field. This guide will take a look at how to catch a baseball like a pro. It’ll detail certain positions and stances, as well as how to get started in case it’s your first time on the diamond.

Before You Start

Before you head out to start shagging fly balls or turning double plays, you’ll need to get a Kevin Kerekes baseball glove that fits your hand. If you throw with your right hand, then you’ll want to pick up a glove that fits your left hand. And if you are a left hander, then you’ll want to get a glove that fits on your right hand.

You will also want to consider where on the field you will be playing. For example, pitchers will want to get a glove that has closed webbing, which will allow them to hide the type of pitch they are throwing. At the same time, pitchers still will need to occasionally catch the ball, so they should also be prepared to have a glove that is ready to do so. First basemen will want a longer and wider glove, which will allow them to scoop the ball out of the dirt when it is thrown from one of the other infielders. Infield players typically have a shallow pocket, which allows them to quickly get the ball out of the glove so they can fire it to another infielder. And outfielders usually have much deeper pocketed gloves, which will help them catch fly balls and stretch for balls that might be just out of reach.

When fitting your glove, you should make sure that it is comfortable, yet sturdy. This means that your glove should have some ability to flex and close quickly on a ball, but also be sturdy enough to hold the ball in place.

Now that you have your glove selected and ready to go, continue reading to find out about different types of balls that you may be required to catch while on the diamond.

Ground Balls

A ground ball is one that a batter makes contact on and, as the name suggests, hits the ground before the player in the field can catch it. Ground balls that are fielded in the infield need to be done quickly, so that they can potentially get a player out at first base or even turn a double play. Ground balls can also be fielded in the outfield, which requires attention and quickness to make sure the batter doesn’t get extra bases on their hit. Because ground balls come off a bat, they can often come at a fielder much quicker than what you are used to when playing toss back and forth. Therefore, speed and concentration is vital for catching ground balls.

In order to catch a ground ball in the infield, you’ll first need to get into ready position. This position, which consists of your knees slightly bent, arms between the legs and head facing the batter, will allow you to get a good jump on the ball. Once a ground ball is hit your way, keep your glove side shoulder to the side of the ball. As the ball approaches, begin to drop down with your knees slightly bent and your glove between your legs and ready to catch the ball. You’ll also want to make sure that your throwing hand is immediately in position to make a quick throw to a base, in an attempt to get out the base runner.

The same style to catch a baseball that is a ground ball in the outfield is close to the same as the infield. You’ll want to keep your body loose and ready to go after a ball, and also be in position to quickly throw it if necessary. However, outfielders can typically approach a ball with three different options in mind.

First, they can simply block the ball. Blocking the ball is usually done with no runners on base, but you also know you don’t have a chance to catch the batter at first either. Blocking the ball requires you to drop to one knee, in order to assure the ball doesn’t get past you.

A scoop is another option for outfielders on ground balls. Typically a scoop, although it is risky, is used to try and catch a runner who is trying to get an extra base or even run home. To catch a scoop, an outfielder must drop his glove on the run, and immediately grab it with his throwing hand and send it to the infield. The scoop takes plenty of practice to develop good muscle memory for when you are on the field.

Another option for outfielders is to simply take ground balls much like an infielder would. Infielder style, as it is typically called, makes sure that the outfielder secures the ball but also keeps his options available for aggressive base runners. Most ground balls that are fielded with infield style are done by outfielders in the shallow area just outside of the infield.

Pop Flies

Another position that you should practice on a regular basis is catching pop fly balls. A pop fly is a batted ball that is sent hurling into the sky and allows the fielder to catch the ball for an out. However, if there are runners on base, it is important to be prepared for quickly throwing the ball as well.

In order to catch a pop fly like a pro, the first thing you need to do is get into a ready position. This ready position is a lot like that which was mentioned for fielding the ball on ground balls. This means slightly bending your knees so you can quickly move in any direction, while also keeping your hands in between your legs and prepared to catch the ball. This position will allow you to get a good jump on a ball as soon as the batter hits it.

Once the batter hits a ball, you’ll need to adjust immediately to determine if it is a ground ball or a fly ball. If it is a fly ball, get a good read on the ball to see what direction it is going. As a fielder, consider how you’ll need to adjust to the ball in order to get into good position.

Once you get a good line on the ball, get into position to catch it. You’ll want to raise both hands into the air and catch the ball with your glove hand. Raising both hands is vital, as it gives you a more athletic stance and also prepares you to quickly grab the ball from your glove in order to quickly throw it to the infield if necessary.

For balls that are hit to your side, be ready to crossover your legs in order to quickly get into position to catch a ball. For balls that are hit behind you, work on your pivoting motion to quickly get in the area that is deeper than your original position. And for balls that are hit short of your position in the field, stay low for shoestring catches.

The best way to perfect your ball catching skills is to work on them consistently. And the best time to do this is to do so during batting practice. Most players love to step to the plate and hit balls all day long, so you probably won’t have a hard time finding anyone who is willing to hit balls for you. And with each different type of ball they hit, it’ll give you more practice to work on your ball catching skills. Keep up the hard work, and you’ll be catching balls like a pro in no time!

Robert Ander enjoys his career as an athletic trainer. When not mentoring students through school, he is often on Blogger writing about the range of options for improved performance on the field.

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