Friday, January 13, 2012

Baseball Catching Positioning and Footwork

The baseball plops into the glove and the catch is made. That's just the final step in the process. Catching a baseball requires body positioning, vision, hand position and the proper glove. When the baseball goes up, it always comes down. The ball should land in your glove if the proper steps are followed.
Positioning and Footwork
Judging the hitter provides an edge in catching the baseball. Play the big swingers deep and the smaller guys shallow. You're often going to have to run back or in to make a catch, but judging the proper starting point makes a big difference. In addition, from time to time, you will have to run to one side or the other to make a catch, so quick lateral movement is an important stage for setting up the catch.
Out of Sight
it is hard to catch what you don't see, so keeping your eyes on the baseball is vital to making the catch. When the ball hits the bat and goes airborne, the first step is to visually track the flight. Simply running to a spot without knowing the baseball's location is going to make the catch difficult -- if not impossible. A good rule of thumb is running in on baseballs that are in a downward trajectory and running back on balls that are in an upward flight.
Hand Made
After tracking the baseball with your eyes and getting into the proper position, you still have to make the catch. It can be a challenging task, considering the ball comes in at different heights and angles. Two general rules should be followed for making a proper catch. When the ball is above your hips, make the catch with the glove -- and fingers -- up. Lowering the glove and fingers and trying to make a "basket catch" puts you at risk of dropping the ball. On baseballs traveling below the hips, drop the glove and fingers down to make the catch..
Glove Love
Wearing the proper glove is critical to catching a baseball. Catchers have their specialized mitts with extra padding, and first basemen wear the largest gloves among position players to snare errant throws and scoop balls out of the dirt. As a rule, infielders wear smaller gloves so they can quickly pick the ball out and throw. Outfielders typically wear bigger gloves because they often have to stretch out before making the catch.

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