For premier infielders, it seems they never get a bad hop when fielding ground balls. It’s not that luck rolls their way every time, however. The best defenders have the feet, hands and instincts necessary to make fielding ground balls automatic. This is especially true when picking hops.
JUDGING THE HOP
On most ground balls, infielders can dictate when they field the ball. You want to look for the quick, short hop or the easy-to-handle long hop when fielding ground balls. You can use this helpful drill to work on judging the ball and deciding when to attack.
To train for better infield defense, have your coach toss a ball in the air. You’ll take your fielding cue from your coach, who will tell you which hop to secure the ball on. Once you have your instruction:
- Move your feet and body into fielding position.
- Keep your hands out in front.
- Follow the ball in as you secure the catch on the correct hop.
This drill can help you read the ball, work hard to get into position and prepare your glove and body for easy fielding.
“The concentration on fielding the correct hop carries over to fungo practice and then game play,” former professional baseball player Steve Bernhardt says.
You should be able to dictate the correct hop on every ground ball hit in your direction. Use these infield Pro Tips to strengthen your skills on the diamond this season.