How To Become a Better Infielder 101
Infielders have a crucial role in a baseball team’s defense. They’re on the frontline when facing the opposition’s hitter and they’re often called upon to deal with firmly-struck, fast-moving balls.
Infielders need lightning-quick reactions, bravery, and the ability to make split-second decisions. There’s a lot of pressure on the infield to make catches and distribute the ball quickly to throw runners out.
There’s a few things that infielders can incorporate into their game to start fielding like a pro. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of tips and tricks to help you step up your game and start dominating the infield like a pro.
Infielder Tip #1: Get In The Correct Stance
Sometimes, as an infielder, you won’t be called into action to receive the ball, but it’s important to adopt the correct catching stance on every single pitch.
Get a low center of gravity by spreading your feet wide apart, bending your knees, and keeping your chest down with a straight back. Your hands should be positioned out in front of you ready to funnel the ball. A great way to make this an ‘automatic’ movement for the important moments is to practice getting into your stance using a throwing or rebound net.
Infielder Tip #2: Keep Your Eye On The Ball
One thing that will allow you to field the ball cleanly is by watching the ball. Focus on the path of the ball from the moment it’s struck all the way into your glove and you’ll soon find yourself catching more and more frequently.
Use some fungo work to get used to tracking and catching fly balls.
Infielder Tip #3: Expect The Unexpected…(And The Ball)
A positive mindset will massively increase your chances of catching balls. If you want the ball to come your way on every pitch you’ll be mentally prepared when it does.
Use the time in between pitches to mentally rehearse catching and playing the ball. Every second of the game is valuable, even the moments when nothing much is happening, so you can use them to get yourself in the zone. And while you anticipate the ball – remember, to expect the unexpected.
Infielder Tip #4: Know Your Opposition
This where a little bit of homework comes in handy…
Try and keep tabs on the other team. If you’ve already played against them in the past, remembering an opposition players’ traits at the plate can be really useful in predicting how they’ll act this time around.
Arming yourself with this information will allow you to place yourself in an appropriate position to react to the hit.
Similarly, if you know how fast certain players are, it will allow you to gauge how much time you’ll have to react during a play.
Infielder Tip #5: Communicate
If you’ve paid attention and read our sister article to this post ‘7 Must-Know Outfielder Tips‘ – you’d also spot communication was mentioned then. For good reason – effective communication is the foundational pillar to all of your baseball team’s success.
Put it this way, if you and your teammates aren’t talking, chances are that you’ll end up making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to let your teammates know if they’re in a bad position or look unfocussed.
Also, there will be times when you’ll have an idea of how to react to a certain play – share it with your team so they’re in on it too.
Infielder Tip #6: Anticipate Hops
A bit more of ‘expect the unexpected’ – but this time a little more specific …
The way a ball is hit will impact the way that it hops. When it hits the ground, your knowledge of this will enhance your ability to dominate the infield.
This comes with time and practice but will be extremely helpful in the long run.
Infielder Tip #7: Remember….Soft Hands!
You’ve probably heard sports announcers refer to players as having ‘soft hands’ and it’s a term used to describe the ability to funnel the ball and transfer it smoothly from glove to throwing hand.
We can also think of it as a physical thing too. There are even some training gloves that try to help youth players develop their soft hands. If you’re tensing your hands in anticipation, you’re going to have much more difficult time when dealing with the ball, so keep everything relaxed.
And remember…expect the unexpected 🙂