A good wide receiver can track the ball all the way into their hands with their eyes. Hand placement is crucial when trying to catch the football.
If you’re catching the ball above the waist, have your palms out, thumbs together, index fingers together and your fingers open. This action creates a good pocket in the shape of a triangle for the ball to land in.
When catching the ball below the waist, keep your palms out, pinkies together and your fingers open.
When you’re coming across the field, parallel to the line of scrimmage, the best hand placement is for the thumbs to be together and fingers open, palms facing back toward the quarterback. Your arms should be away from your body, also parallel to the line of scrimmage.
When the ball is thrown over your shoulder, you should have your pinkies together and fingers open to create a pocket for the football.
To work on catching the ball, put your back to a teammate throwing the ball to you. Chop your feet in place. On a signal from the coach or quarterback, turn quickly 180 degrees, getting your palms up and thumbs together with fingers open ready to catch the ball. After catching the ball, you should always secure the ball into your body. This is a good habit to form after every catch.
Practice different scenarios for catching the ball, so that you are ready when the times comes to make a big play.