Purpose:

Practice ground balls to SS with a play at 3B.

Setup:

  • Coach with fungo bat to left of home plate.
  • Lines of players at SS and 3B.

Execution:

  • Fungo hits ground ball to SS.
  • SS flips to 3B for the play at third.
  • 3B returns ball to Fungo.
  • Rotate and repeat.

Coaching Tips for Fielding Ground Balls:

  • Catch grounders left of center of body. Feet and glove should form an equilateral triangle.
  • Error never under glove as we start low and work up, down to up.
  • If the ball is more than halfway across your body, use backhand.
  • On backhand keep butt down, glove out in front, and give with the path of the ball. Ball should be caught in webbing. Swiping at it helps secure the catch.
  • Going left or right – take good crossover step and stay low.
  • Harder ball is hit, more of a tendency for it to stay down. Field ball on short hop or high hop. Stay away from the in-between hop, as it has the most spin and speed.
  • Bobbled ball – get over it with chest and scoop it with both hands.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • Emphasize the importance of watching the ball into the glove. Young players should practice keeping their eye on the ball until it’s securely caught.
  • Teach them to shuffle their feet towards the target (third base) before making the throw. This helps in aligning their body for a more accurate throw.
  • Focus on the basics of a good throw. Encourage them to throw with a smooth, over-the-top motion, using their entire body, not just the arm.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • Work on developing quick reflexes to react faster to ground balls. This includes practicing rapid footwork and glove work.
  • Stress the importance of a strong, accurate throw. Players should work on increasing the strength of their throws while maintaining precision.
  • Introduce the concept of reading the runner’s speed. Older players should practice deciding whether to go for the play at third or settle for the safe out at first, based on the game situation.