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Establishing a Routine
Making the routine play routinely is top priority for an infielder. The keys: Take the proper approach and get to a grounder on time.
By Danny Hall
Head Coach, Georgia Tech

 

Many times the hardest play for an infielder is the ground ball hit right at him. We call this the routine play and expect our infielders to make this play every time. The play can be difficult because it is hard to judge the speed of the ball. Errors are made when the infielder takes a bad approach to the ball and chooses the wrong hop.

  1. Approach: I always want to approach the ball from right to left if I'm a right-hand thrower and left to right if I throw left-handed. I want to have the mindset that I am going to attack the ball and play through the ball. I want to get a short hop or a long hop and avoid the in-between hop. The closer I get to the ball, the shorter my steps need to be so that I am under control to catch the ball. My last two steps should be with my right foot, then my left, and I want to catch the ball to the left side of the midpoint of the body. It's just the opposite for the left-hander (left foot then right).
     
  2. Catch Position: My last two steps are right and then left so that I catch the ball to the left of the midpoint of my body (left of center). This allows me to keep myglove open, pocket to the ball, and also relaxes the hands. This is commonly referred to as soft hands. My glove is in front of my face and eyes and the fingers of my glove are pointing down. My bare hand is on top of the glove. My feet are shoulder width apart and even. My knees are inside my feet and flexed so that my butt is down and my back is flat like a table. This allows the infielder to work the glove from the ground up and improves his vision of the baseball. I will secure the catch by rolling the fingers of the glove up to my bare hand. The rolling of the glove up allows me to keep the ball in front of my eyes, improving my vision and keeping my momentum going through the ground ball.
     
  3. Crow hop and throw: Once I secure the catch I want to take the glove to my throwing shoulder while stepping through with my throwing side foot toward the target or base I am throwing to. The step through is short and in the direction of the base but should allow me to get the weight of my body on my throwing side foot (power position). My hip and shoulders should be closed in pointing toward my target. I want to step to the target with my left foot (right-hand throwers) slightly closed. My fingers are across the seams of the ball and on top of the ball. Turn your hips and throw the ball with a three-quarter arm motion. Follow through so your throwing shoulder rotates to the target and ends up under your chin.


 
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