Nick Beckmann is a high school coach, All-Star fielding & hitting instructor, and former college player. Additional educational resources for players, coaches and parents are available at gamersacademy.net.
Great fielders make it look like pure instinct, darting out and snatching hard hit grounders that seem nearly impossible to snag. The short answer to their success: instinct. But there’s a catch...That instinct is developed over years of practice and conditioning, the kind that makes lightning fast, efficient movements and glove control second nature. It’s critical early on in the preseason (and moreover, early on in a player’s development!) to focus on the sort of drills that will train them to react quickly, effectively, and without so much as a second thought. To that end, we’re proud to present a 12 week series in collaboration with the St. Louis Gamers’ Nick Beckmann that develops these very skills. In this, the first week, we’ll be focusing on glove hand dexterity, and then combining that with a more complicated footwork drill called the infield slalom.
Glove Hand Drill
This drill focuses on placement of the glove—fingertips down, palm up. Many kids don’t put their glove down far enough. By now we’re all familiar with the ubiquitous “alligator drill,” but it’s important to first focus on where the glove is placed and where it travels after making contact with the ball, that is to say, keeping it out in front. See the video below for a detailed breakdown.
The vast majority of balls that will be picked up by an infielder are hit just a couple steps in either direction. To train for this scenario, The Gamers have developed a drill focuses on that first step—attacking the baseball at angles and getting momentum going towards first base. This is achieved with a jab step, rather than a shuffle.