Brandon Phillips’ secret weapons
The past few winters I’ve had the pleasure of working with a major league scout/coach who is very high up in the Cincinnati Reds organization. On the last clinic day before he had to leave for spring training (and just days before Brandon Phillips was traded to the Braves) I asked him a question about Phillips. I knew he worked one-on-one with many of the Reds and wanted to know if Brandon Phillips had any fielding drills that he was married to or did religiously. I wanted to know because infielders with hands and feet like Phillips don’t just walk out on the field at game time and perform those amazing plays with no work behind the scenes.
His answer was three-fold. First, he said that Brandon Phillips cannot get enough ground balls. Multiple coaches are usually needed to hit him the ground balls he wants over the course of a practice. The coaches wear out quicker than Brandon. Second, he said that all the incredible plays we see by Phillips are practiced routinely. The tosses between the legs, the amazing one-handed stabs, the feeds with just his glove, etc. are all practiced. They may look spontaneous but they are not. They all are worked on religiously.
And third … he uses an infield training glove/paddle all the time like the one shown above.
I’ve used infield training gloves/paddles of different kinds since they were introduced to me by my high school coach. They are worth their weight in gold for developing soft hands.
Great infielders might be born athletic, agile, and quick but if one of the best infielders in the game can’t get enough ground balls, practices every kind of play imaginable, and uses an infield training glove, then why aren’t you?