When fielding ground balls, try to get in front of the ball with the glove on ground and in front of your feet. Your throwing hand should be over the top of your glove as if you were pretending that your arms were an alligator’s mouth. Just remember to keep your arms relaxed and not locked up at the elbows. Use your legs by squat down to a ground ball, bending over at the waste makes fielding harder and changes your view of the ball coming toward you. If you keep the foot on your throwing hand slightly back, you can transition into a throwing position quickly.
When you are playing an outfield position, you are the last line of defense. The last thing that you want to happen is for a simple base hit to get by you and give up extra bases.
When ball is hit to you to far away to get in front of it, you will have to resort to a backhand or forehand catch. Again, it is important even on the backhand and forehand catch to keep your glove in front of your feet.
I use the V-drill for ground balls as well as thrown balls. They should field 10 grounders coming right at them and 10 each on their backhand and forehand sides. I guess that on the backhand and forehand catches, you could call this the N-drill or the Z drill. I have re-printed the V drill below just incase you missed it in the “catching” page.
The V Drill
A group of three athletes can get a lot of repetitions quickly by using the V drill. Have your players line up about 30 feet apart forming a “V” shape. The athlete at the base of the “V” will be the one getting the work out. The other two will only throw to the one at the base of the “V”. The player at the base will receive the ball from the first player and transition and throw to the other. The other player then throws the ball right back to the one at the base who receives, transitions and throws back to the first player. This is repeated until the base player has caught 10 to 20 throws from each of the other players. Then you can rotate the next player into the base position until they have all had their opportunity.
What you will find is that when the base player receives the ball from one player, their feet are almost lined up for the quick throw to the other player. When the base player receives the ball from the other player, the base player must re-adjust her feet in order to line up the next throw. This is where the base player can really develop a strong “crow hop” to quickly get to that position.
The coach is the person who communicates with parents, players, umpires, other coaches and your local associations. You facilitate the team by making sure all the equipment is there when it is needed. Most important are the players. You are teaching more than the skills and strategies of fastpitch. The ability to gracefully deal with success and failure, the persistence to keep trying and the confidence that these young ladies learn from you is priceless.
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