Coaching Tips for Teaching a New Player How to Catch a Baseball Properly
A youth baseball coach should expect the unexpected. A player who is new to the sport may not know how to catch a baseball and it will be the coach’s job to teach them how. Let’s take a look at some Baseball Coaching Tips for Teaching a New Player To Catch a Baseball.
The most basic step in teaching a player to catch a baseball is to teach proper positioning. This is a new player so we can’t assume that they know to properly “square up.” The ready position as it is also called will prepare them to receive the ball and can also begging to help build confidence.
Next, the coach will want to teach proper receiving mechanics. The coach will want to instruct the player to not slap at the ball or lunge at the ball. Catching the baseball is more about letting the ball come to them. The player should also use both hands to secure the ball which will also help to maintain good balance.
#3 Taking Off the Glove
A very basic drill that will help incorporate the ready position and teach proper mechanics is the bare hand drill. Players should be instructed to take off their gloves and they can field/catch tennis balls or wiffleballs. This will help them develop good mechanics and it will slowly build confidence using a softer ball.
#4 Close Range Soft Toss
This drill will have the coach gently tossing a hard ball to the players from a short distance. A common mistake when playing catch with a new player is starting to far away. Even an adult partner should start close so he can reliably deliver the ball shoulder height so the new player can working on proper receiving technique. As players become more successful and build more confidence then the coach can move further back using longer throws.
#5 Using the Pitching Machine
The pitching machine is a great way to build confidence in a player trying to learn to catch the ball. The machine will put the baseball in the same spot all the time which will help the player build confidence without the pressure of unpredictability.
#6 Rundown Drill
A rundown drill is great for player who is still learning to catch a baseball. Successful rundowns are based on short throws. This drill will incorporate short throws while adding a little game pressure.
#7 Relay Drill
Four players will be placed in a line and will be instructed to throw to the player in front of them. The relay will test players to make accurate throws and use proper catching mechanics. A relay drill is similar to the soft toss drill in that the distance can change to increase difficulty. Another spin can be to do a challenge to see how many successful throws can be made in a row or in a certain amount of time.
#8 Double Play Drill
A double play drill is great for teaching catching mechanics. Again the distance between players can be used to increase difficulty. The coach could start off with double plays that use an underhand toss to start them and then adjust the distance between players accordingly.
Pepper is a really good game that will help develop good hand-eye coordination. Pepper is fun, fast paced and is a game of repetition. It’s a great game for helping players learn how to catch the baseball. For safety, it can be done with a rag ball or wiffleball.
#10 Playing Catch Constructively
One of the most important things a coach can do for so the entire team is learning to catch the baseball properly is to actually organize playing catch properly before games and practices. This is sometimes an overlooked detail but a very important one. Players should be paired off and lined up in rows. This will give everyone room to play catch and accidents that can be caused by players who are crisscrossed or back to back will be avoided. Players should be instructed to work on chest high throws and focus on properly receiving the ball. This activity should be monitored by the coach for effectiveness. With an experienced baseball team, this drill should produce the sweet sounds of the gloves snapping in unison.
A baseball coach should take on the challenge of teaching a new player to catch a baseball with the same philosophy as any other skill. First, it’s about starting with the basics and building confidence. Then it’s about building momentum off that confidence and increasing difficulty slowly to challenge the player. Soon the coach will hear the sound of the ball dropping replaced by the sweet sound of the glove snapping.