Infield play, especially up the middle(keystone), is very important and is an aggressive arena to enter. Infielders must WANT the ball hit to them, and then must make the correct play. The key is to be ready and expect the ball to be hit to YOU. “Be quick, but do not hurry!’ is the maxim and it is key to secure the ball, get a grip and throw it so your teammate can catch it!! Baseball is WE not ME, and in the infield, all players must play as one highly organized team!!
1. KNOW the situation prior to each pitch. Prepare your mind so you know what to do if you get the ball(and YOU want it): number of outs, men on?, where to go, etc. Begin in the Perfect Fielding Position(PFC—athletic position with glove out in front, pocket OPEN wide) and review your mental check list between pitches. Assume the ball is going to be hit to YOU!! Remember: Ball, Base, Backup(B3).
2. As the pitcher is in his motion, begin to “creep” towards the plate so you are in motion to the ball as he pitches. You can react faster if you are already moving when the ball is hit.
3. Go Get It!!! Get to the ball as quick as possible…the quicker you get to it, the “slower” the runner will be! Be sure to get IN FRONT of the ball with your entire body when possible. Stay low and go…start with the glove down to the ground as it will be easier to just come up if the rather than to go down and get it. Do not wait for the ball or stand up…Go LOW!!
4. Count the hops: Mentally count the hops and this will keep a keen focus on the ball. Do it in practice and the games.
5. Stay low with your glove outstretched with elbow relaxed. ALWAYS field from the ground up. LOW!!!!!!!
6. Move THROUGH the ball as you field it…do not stop moving your feet!!
7. As you field the ball, get your feet “under” you as you prepare to throw with a slight turn…this will maintain balance.
8. ALWAYS throw with a four(4)-seam grip. As you field the ball, cross over with your feet, while getting a 4-seam grip. Practice this over and over!!
9. FOLLOW the ball!!! As you release the ball, follow the ball; this will give you more power and insure that you throw with your CORE and not just your arm. If you do not follow it you will only be using 10-20% of your potential velocity. Lead with your glove and shoulder to the target.
10. Your throws should NEVER be higher than your height and actually should be 5-6” shorter than your height. THROW and FOLLOW! If you do not get the ball, cover a base and if all are covered, back up somewhere…Do NOT stand there!
Baseball is a physical game but takes a lot of work and mental insight. Practice all the facets of infield play BUT focus on GETTING to the ball as fast as you can!! GAGBTF