The Fundamentals Of Fielding A Baseball

While everyone wants to hit for power and average, that’s only half of a baseball game. Players also must learn to play effective defense in order to be complete. Being able to consistently field the ball and make accurate throws can often be the difference between winning a game and losing. At The Farm League blog, former major leaguer Billy Ripken breaks fielding down into six parts, which he calls “the 6 ‘F’s of fielding”. Here are the fundamentals each player should work on in order to improve in the field.

  • Feet

Not only does your footwork dictate the accuracy of your throws, but it also puts you in position to field the ball in the first place. Proper footwork starts before the pitcher even delivers the ball to the batter. Be in proper position with feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent before the ball is pitched. This ensures you’re ready to react when the ball comes your way.

  • Field

After starting the play in the correct position and with the proper foot placement, you’re ready to field the ball. If you’re an infielder fielding a grounder, you’ll want to get in front of the ball, then set a wide base with your feet. This way, you’ll be able to get low and watch the ball go into your glove. A wide base also gives you balance so you can get your hands in front of you without tipping over.

  • Funnel

By funnel, we mean the act of bringing the ball in and preparing to throw. Your hands aren’t blocking the ball, but catching it, which means they need to be loose and soft. Fielding the ball involves one fluid motion of funneling it into your glove and up to your chest. From there, you’ll take the ball out of your glove with your thumbs down, which puts you in position to deliver a strong, accurate throw.

  • Fire

During the funnel phase, you’ll also be employing proper footwork to put yourself in position to fire the ball across the diamond. Your front shoulder should be pointed at your target and keep your elbow over your shoulder. Use a four-seam grip in order to properly control the ball and deliver it accurately.

  • Follow

Your job isn’t done once the ball is released. To ensure accuracy and power, your arm should follow through and your body should naturally take a few extra steps toward your target. An easy way to trouble shoot your fielding and throwing motion is to look at where you end up after the process. If you’ve drifted off course, there’s something that needs to be adjusted.

Practicing these mechanics will eventually make them feel natural. Be sure to practice the entire process together since that’s how you’ll be using these skills in a game. You’ll rarely ever field a ball without the need to throw it somewhere quickly.

For help refining and perfecting all of your mechanics, come to Perfect Practice Athletic Center in Tulsa. We offer private lessons or you can sign up for one of our baseball clinics.

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