Here are ideas for youth baseball fielding drills that won’t break the team budget to try. It is a way to develop “soft hands” infielding without spending a fortune. I call it the “poor man’s soft hands glove” drill.
I’ve seen the flat fielding gloves in stores at extreme prices. So I went to the nearest dollar store (or sundries/beach store) and purchased a couple sets of “scatch paddles” (those velcro paddles and tennis ball catch games).
Poor Man’s Soft Hands Glove Drill
* I set up 3 or 4 players ,with paddles on their glove hand, between first and second.
* Coach stands near the mound with 2 baseballs and rolls one at first player who fields it by trapping it against the paddle with throwing hand (alligator style) and throws it back to coach.
* While this throw is coming back,the coach rolls a second ball to the next fielder, etc.all the way up/down the line of players.
Using this paddle forces the player to field correctly using proper stance, technique and hands position while also making fielder “look the ball in to the glove”.
Things to stress:
1. Nice triangle position (paddle reaching out in front of feet when fielding)
2. Low butt (bend legs, not waist)
3. Paddle perpendicular to ball
4. Look ball all the way to paddle (“show the beanie of cap”)
5. Bring ball up the body and use good foot work
Another coach and 3 or 4 players can be placed between 2nd and 3rd to get more players involved. You can increase the level of difficulty by throwing “one-hoppers”, off right, and off left to stress getting in front of ball.
Paddles really force proper hands placement and body placement (must use proper technique or ball will ricochet away). Paddles may break or pieces fall off over time but you can buy several sets for the price of one specialty glove.