By Tom Greve
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Over time, decrease the number of mandatory shuffles from three, down to two, and finally to one. Be sure to point out that the runner will dictate if an infielder needs to move quickly and get rid of the ball. (continued) 33 Slow Rollers and Fundamentals (continued) 3. Forehands and backhands. Include various types of ground balls, and force the athletes to field the baseball on either side of the body. A ground ball fielded off to the glove side of the body is called a forehand (photo a). A ball on the throwing-hand side of the body, requiring the fielder to take a crossover step, is commonly referred to as a backhand (similar to tennis) (photo b).
Communication Initially, your role as a coach is to introduce the need for “calling” a fly ball. To avoid collisions, athletes should use the common “I got it, I got it, I got it” (three times) to let everyone know they will be attempting to catch the ball. A simple rule for outfield play is that the ball must be called by an athlete before it starts the downward flight. Encourage aggressive behavior because you want your players not to be afraid to make mistakes. However, athletes need to learn to respect their teammates and to back off if someone else calls the baseball.
Include a variety of throws, ground balls, tags, and so on. You can also reverse the direction. Instruct athletes to turn right and circulate the baseball in a counterclockwise fashion (when viewing from above). This requires the feet to literally jump and replace each other—a movement called the reverse pivot. 2. Use the full diamond to increase the distance of throws, and add competition by setting goals for the number of throws without an error or the number of throws in a certain time period.
First Basemen by Tom Greve