The concept “As you get older the game gets faster” has been written numerous times on this blog in many different forms. Careers are ended when a player’s abilities cannot keep pace with the speed of the game at a particular level. For some, it’s Little League. For others, it’s high school, college, or a level within pro ball. This entire blog (and my reason for creating Baseball By The Yard!) is designed to teach players how to make their game better and quicker so they can keep moving up the ladder.
Quick actions are important for every position, especially shortstop and second base. A middle infielder cannot survive very long in baseball without having quick glove work during the process of catching and throwing. Fielding and throwing to first, turning double plays, and tagging runners all require fast hands. There are many tips to help players do these responsibilities more quickly. Future posts will deal with many others but here is a quick tip that can decrease the time it takes to catch and throw.
Catching and throwing quickly is the foundation for success on defense. Chase Utley, glove open, throwing hand nearby.
Don’t close your glove unless you have to.
This tip applies to fielding and throwing ground balls as well as turning double plays. Closing the glove around the ball every time a player catches adds a little time to the process of catching, taking the ball out, and throwing. A small amount of time is added because the player has to open the glove before reaching in. It’s not much time but it all adds up.
To practice this, when playing catch middle infielders should try to catch the throws without closing their glove. This requires soft hands and having the throwing hand close by. Instead of catching the ball, a player should try to redirect the ball into the throwing hand. It takes practice but if a player learns the feel of it, he usually does it by habit from there on after.
This tip isn’t going to take a player from high school right to the major leagues but it’s another little thing that a player can do to help keep pace with the game as they get older.