Purpose:

Teaches players how to properly field balls that are to their right or left using their backhand.

Setup:

Players line up 15 feet apart in pairs.

Players roll the ball back and forth, alternating sides.

Instructions:

  • Players roll the ball back and forth and field it using a backhand technique.
  • Players simulate beginning to move to a ground ball at their side.

Coaching Tips:

  • Players should do this drill both with their glove side foot forward and with their glove side foot back.
  • Players should have a deep knee bend, back flat, and their bottom low.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • Encourage players to keep their eyes on the ball: Young players often struggle with hand-eye coordination. Coaches should stress the importance of watching the ball all the way into the glove to improve their catching consistency.
  • Teach the importance of soft hands: Younger athletes should learn to ‘give’ with the ball as they catch it. This softening of the hands reduces the chance of the ball bouncing out of the glove and helps in smoother fielding.
  • Simplify footwork: Simplify foot movement for younger players by teaching them to step towards the ball with their glove-side foot as they prepare to field it. This basic movement helps in positioning their body correctly for the backhand catch.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • Practice quick transitions from fielding to throwing: For older, more experienced players, emphasize the importance of transitioning quickly from catching the ball to getting into a throwing position. This is crucial for making effective plays in games.
  • Focus on directional movement: Encourage players to work on moving their feet in the direction of the play after fielding the ball. This ensures momentum is directed towards the target, aiding in a stronger and more accurate throw.
  • Incorporate reaction drills: Older players should practice reacting to unpredictable bounces. Use drills that involve rolling the ball in different directions and at varying speeds to mimic game situations, enhancing their adaptability and reflexes.