Teaching Fielding To Baseball Players
Many coaches attempt to teach fielding to players by first hitting them ground balls. Youcannot teach fielding and hit ground balls at the same time! In fact, the bat is the last itema coach should use in teaching the correct fundamentals of fielding.There are many things involved in teaching good fielding techniques. Three veryimportant areas that coaches should try to emphasize to players include: the glove, theready position, and the fielding position.
Like any job, fielding is easier when you have the right tool to use and when that tool is properly maintained. It has been my experience that many players, for various reasons,try to use gloves that are too big for them.If you, the coach, have influence over the gloves your players buy, help them select aglove that is right for their size, age, and position. For example, if you have a young player who plays only the infield, he should not use a long-fingered pitcher-outfieldglove. If you coach 8 and 9 year olds, they should not use gloves designed for 13-14 year olds.How to break in the glove is also very important. Help your players break in their gloveso that they form a wide-open pocket. This can be achieved by working the four fingersof the glove forward as opposed to creasing the glove so that the thumb is against thefingers. Breaking in the glove the wrong way will give it a flat appearance with a verysmall opening (players should never sit or kneel on their gloves!). By applying a smallamount of glove oil or shaving cream which contains lanolin in the pocket area of theglove, the glove will become more flexible and will help to develop the proper shape of the pocket.
The Ready Position
It is very important that players develop a good ready position if they are going to be ableto react quickly to the ball coming off the bat. Many times young players assume whatthey think is a good ready position when in fact, they are working against themselves.