Baseball Fielding Drills
By Frank Catalanotto
One of the best drills to do right when you get out on the field for practice is the “knee drill”. Kneel down with your glove and have a coach or teammate hit groundballs to you. Kneeling down eliminates you having to move your feet and allows you to exclusively use your hands. It really makes you rely on your reactions with your glove hand. Make sure you reach out and snatch the ball working through it instead of keeping your hand close to your body and getting tied up. Make sure you work booth the backhand and the forehand.
The “ball rolling drill” is another one of my favorites. This drill allows you to really work on and feel the right mechanics for fielding a groundball. Simply have a coach or teammate roll balls to you from 10-15 feet away. This way you don’t have to worry about a bad hop or a fungo hitter that can’t seem to hit a good groundball. Go slow at first so you can remind yourself of how it should feel and then speed it up as you go along. Start with balls right at you, then go to forehands, backhands and then finish with a few right at you again. Make sure you move your feet to get in the right position. Have the coach or teammate move further back as you continue. This drill is easy for young kids because the fear of a bad hop is eliminated. The success that they have in this drill can help build their confidence.
When I played the outfield I liked doing a drop step drill. In this drill a coach would stand face to face with you about 10 feet away. He would throw the ball over either one of the outfielders shoulders and the fielder would have to drop step and chase down the ball. Most times you won’t know which shoulder he will throw it over so you really have to react quickly, open your shoulder with your drop step and go.
During batting practice I liked doing a reaction drill in the outfield. I would react to every batted ball from the hitter. I would try to get the best possible jump on the ball, anticipating where the ball would be hit right as it was getting in the hitting zone. I would try to determine where the ball would be hit as I watched the hitter’s swing and where he was making contact. I really felt like this helped me out a lot and allowed me to make up for my lack of blazing foot speed.
Frank Catalanotto played in Major League Baseball for 14 years and five different teams—the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets —before retiring during the 2010 season. He graduated from Smithtown East High School (NY) in 1992, played baseball, soccer, ran track, and, as a senior, earned All Long Island honors. Frank is now President of Proven 4, a vitamin, supplement & NSF Certified Sports Nutrition company.