Coaches often view fielding backhand as a lazy play, or at least a lazy approach. But it can actually be a valuable skill for infielders—if they take the correct approach, which few players actually do. Too often athletes try to meet the ball at the exact time and spot in the infield where they would physically catch the ball instead of beating the ball to the spot, backhanding it, and using momentum to work back toward their throwing target.
If you want to improve your backhand to become a better infielder, you can perform any number of drills. The following example will help you fine-tune your fielding and get you in the proper position to get the out every time.
Backhand Double Scoop
This is a simple baseball drill for any infield position and doesn't require a partner. It's actually a favorite of mine. Your goal for the drill is to field each baseball in succession with the same fielding motion. To successfully catch both baseballs at once, you must stay low and work through each ground ball on a straight line toward first base. Your palm should be facing each ball as your glove works through each ball. You should actually drag your glove in the dirt a little to ensure that your glove stays down and through the ball. You must also get in a position to work through the ball, which you can only do by beating the ball to the spot and aligning both your feet in a line parallel with the two baseballs.
For this drill, the baseballs are stationary, so it's easy to beat the ball to the spot and work through the ball; however, you must repeat the drill over and over to make a smoother transition to the game. There is no set number of repetitions for this drill. You should perform it until you feel comfortable with the backhand.
Performing The Backhand Double Scoop Drill
1. Start by placing two baseballs on the ground roughly six to eight inches apart, about a foot in front of you at a 45-degree angle toward first base.
2. Once the baseballs are lined up in front of you, go through your pre-pitch routine and get in a ready position.
3. Take a hard, diagonal step forward and to your right to create a good angle toward the balls and explode through the balls maintaining a proper backhand fielding position with knees bent, head down, and your palm and heels pointing towards your throwing target.
Bonus for Outfielders
The Backhand Double Scoop Drill can be turned into a drill for outfielders. Instead of using a 45-degree angle, place both baseballs between 8 and 10 feet directly in front of you, providing enough room to approach the ground ball. The drill helps to prevent outfielders from rushing through their approach to make a quicker throw in hopes of throwing out a runner. The extra baseball forces you to stay down and work through the ball.