Shortstops know that turning two can swing an inning in their team’s favor. Not every ground ball is going to be close enough for an easy underhand flip, though. Thankfully, shortstops have a few options at their disposal to get the ball rolling on another smooth double play.
Regardless of which feed you choose to use, it’s important to remember your mechanics when fielding a ground ball. Look to close some ground on the ball, if possible. “As we move up competitive levels of baseball, the runners get faster, so we want to be as efficient as possible to make plays,” former professional baseball player Steve Bernhardt says.
Make sure to approach the ball with a right foot, left foot rhythm to secure the catch out in front. Once you make a quick, clean exchange to your throwing hand, you can decide which feed is right for the play.
STANDARD FEED OPTIONS
“At this point there are three basic ways to get into position to make the feed,” Bernhardt says.
TURN IN WITH RIGHT KNEE
This double play feed from shortstop is simple and concise. Once you’ve secured the catch, use your momentum heading toward the base and turn your right knee. Your kneecap should be facing down. From this bent position, make your exchange and toss the ball to your teammate.
PLANT KNEE ON GROUND WITH TURN-IN
This standard feed is the same as a turn in, but you should place your right knee on the ground for added stability. This can be helpful for shortstops who need more support or don’t have to hurry their exchange to the base.
DROP STEP WITH LEFT FOOT
The final feed option for shortstops sees you take a step back with your left foot once you’ve secured the ground ball. This can help clear a throwing path to the bag and can be the most comfortable option for some athletes.
All three are acceptable, according to Bernhardt. But, “Regardless of which one you choose, the body must stay low and open to second base and the feed comes from a three-fourths or lower arm slot.”
Remember to give your second baseman a firm toss to their chest. They should be able to handle it cleanly without difficulty.
Give these standard feeds a try and find the method you feel most comfortable with. Practice hard and set up your second baseman for another acceptable double play.
Hungry for more feed drills? Be sure to follow these tips on the shortstop double play underhand feed for a full course of training.