Fielding: Taking a Tag
If Randy Johnson threw a 100 mph fastball at your shins, it would be difficult to catch, agreed? The easiest baseballs for kids to catch are baseballs at their chest. The reason: it is easiest to see the baseball into the glove. I see many young first baseman and middle infielders cover bases for a tag standing up tall. Not good. It is more difficult to go down and catch something than it is to go up and catch something.
Baseball coaches, have your infielders get to the bag and get almost into a catching position.
I sometimes take my infielders into the cage and turn up the pitching machine to "very fast" and lower the aim to the ground so the guys have to work on picking balls in the dirt. I don't have to tell the to get low, they fear for their lives so they get into a position that is going to best keep them from getting hurt. They get low, then they find that the ball doesn't look as fast from down there.
First basemen should be in a pseudo-catcher position as the ball is being thrown by the infielders. They will be ready for bad balls, in the dirt or side to side.
You should see immediate improvement in kids that are having a hard time catching balls by getting them to get their butt down and get their eyes behind the ball as they catch it.
Brian Berger, ABC Holiday Camp Director, Owner Youth Baseball Edge