Slow Rolling Ground Balls Made Routine

April 24, 2011

Baseball purists refer to it simply as “catching the ball.” If only fielding ground balls and short-hoppers in the infield were that easy.

Reports that college bats have cooled off this season—purportedly due to the use of the less-lively BBCOR-approved bats—are good news for defensive specialists. With runs down and more games being decided in the late innings, the value of a strong defense is at an all-time high. And because BBCOR bats have less of a trampoline effect than their precursors, hitters are blasting fewer line drives and putting more balls in play that infielders are capable of handling.

Still, you're unlikely to make diving, backhand grabs at the hot corner if you haven’t mastered the fundamentals of infield defense.

One “routine” play is the slow rolling ground ball. Whether you're a middle infielder or playing one of the corners, a dribbler can spell trouble if you don't field it properly.

Rule number one: do not field the ball with your throwing hand or “bare-hand” the ball. “That’s a complete do-or-die play,” says St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker. Even if you field the ball cleanly, you will be off balance, with momentum carrying you forward while you try to make the throw.  Chances are your throw will be off target.

The safest play is to scoop up the slow roller with your glove. Charging in, approach the ball to the outside of your glove-side leg. Stay low and keep your eyes on the ball all the way into your glove. Then, shift your weight to your opposite leg and throw the ball to your target, making sure to follow through.

They say the game of baseball is a grind. The consistent plays you make on slow grounders may not make the highlight reel, but they can get your pitcher out a jam or avoid giving up a run late in a ballgame.

To make this play become truly routine, practice charging and fielding ground balls during each on-field session. Mix it up by fielding balls to both sides, and even practice at different positions on the field.

Above, Skip Schumaker offers a demo on how to charge a ground ball.

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Must See
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 9,492,253
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,773,369
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 28,026,930

Featured Videos

Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Views: 1,894
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,081,054
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,928
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,945
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,869
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,411

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Basketball speed is critical to offensive success. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to executing layups. One of the principles that I use...

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

The Football Route Tree, Explained

The Football Route Tree, Explained

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

10 Tips Every AAU Player Must Know

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

Teach the Layup with the Two-Step Drill

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

YardBarker