Fielding is the basic framework of playing defense in baseball or softball. In no other area does the old adage of “repetition is the mother of skills” is always relevant. Of course there are some fundamental techniques or mechanics that can be worked on but at the youth level getting better at catching/stopping the ball (get a glove on it) will never “not matter”. So parents, if you don’t know anything about the technical aspects fielding, footwork, etc you can still help your player get better. In fact, your acknowledgement of not knowing “how to” is a really good thing – by the way, this applies to all areas of life 🙂
In the videos below, you and your child do not have to go though all levels of these fielding progressions. We are talking youth here and you have to start where you and the player are “at”. Getting yourself or the child frustrated is counterproductive at this point. The point is the speed of a drill and how the drill is done needs to be doable for the player – reps is the training protocol. Too many think everything has to “hard” in order for it to work or to get better. Of course challenging an athlete is part of the long-term process of getting better. But don’t jump to the chase (talking to mostly dads out there) – practicing the fundamentals is what separates the good from the not so good. You don’t practice free throws by running at full speed, so to speak.
Also, you don’t need a bat. Being able to use a bat helps, you’ll get better at using a bat the more you use it but don’t let that stop you from putting in the time with your child at catching and getting a glove on the ball. Throwing the ball underhand or overhand works. And does not have to be a baseball or softball – cheap practice tennis balls work. Visually tracking any ball, improving hand-eye coordination, and confidence is the goal – not the particular equipment being used.
Below are videos of Ron Washington, professional, major league coach, former manager. Ron is not only considered to be one of the best fielding coaches on the planet but also has earned the rep as being a good dude in the game and in life. That may not matter to some, but it does to me. Fun fact: If you say the movie Moneyball, Ron’s character was played by Brent Jennings . In the image below, Brent is on the left. Oh, the guy on the right is kinda famous as well …
Back to the vids below, the fielders are professional players. The drills are not necessarily targeted at the youth level. But the methodoly and the “how to” applies to all.
Next is a great vid bellow by Coach Trent Mongero from Winning Baseball (Click Here For Full Website) . From bare hands, to ground balls, to fly balls you can not get “to good” at these 5 drills regardless of the position played.
Take what you can from these videos, build upon it and start getting better.