Every infielder wants to improve their fielding, and while there are many drills to work on the mechanics of fielding, today I’ll highlight 3 tips on how to improve fielding by working on and changing your mental approach.
Tip #1: Attack The Baseball. This is a big one for younger baseball players. Not all of us have the ability to play on a major league quality field or throw 95 mph across the diamond, therefore most of us need to work on attacking the baseball to cut distance from the runner and eliminate bad hops. Every step you take towards the baseball takes one step away from the runner and every hop you eliminate takes a possible bad hop out of the equation.
Tip #2: Pick Your Hop. While attacking the baseball, you should be focusing on giving yourself a good hop to field. Short hops and long hops are the easiest hops to field, while those mid hops or in-between hops are the ones that cause most errors. My college coach would constantly say there is no such thing as a bad hop, and while I fought him for a long time about that I eventually came to realize what he was saying: If you can pick out which hop you are going to field and eliminate those in-between hops, then the bad hops magically disappear. Attack the baseball, pick out a short or long hop to field, and make the play.
Tip #3: Be Confident. It’s true, the baseball always finds the player who wants it least. Don’t carry your at-bats to the field, and don’t carry your errors to the next play, inning, or game. It’s easier said than done, but if you dwell on the past you won’t succeed in the present. If you put in the time and effort during practice your play will show that, just go out, have fun, and let all that hard work pay off.