Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Footwork on backhands

If you look closely at photos of infielders who are backhanding a ground 
ball, you’ll probably notice some differences in footwork.  Which 
footwork the fielder chooses has to do with the type of groundball that
 was hit.  Was it hit hard but fairly close to you or was it hit with 
average speed but farther away?  Whatever the answer is will determine
 which footwork to use.
 

 

On balls hit very hard but not very far (a step or two away) fielders
 will open their non-glove side foot and field the ball inside that foot
 like in Photo 1.  Balls hit farther away where the fielder has to move a
 number of steps will require the fielder to lead with the glove-side
 foot forward.  He also will field the ball outside the foot as shown in Photo 2.  
In Photo 1, because the ball is hit hard and relatively close, the
 fielder doesn’t have much time to cross over to field.  That’s why just 
opening up the lead foot is best.  In Photo 2, the ball was hit farther
 away which creates a lot of momentum away from first base for the
 fielder.  This will require the fielder to stop their momentum before 
attempting to throw to first.  Fielding with the glove-side foot forward 
will allow the fielder to cross over with the other foot after catching 
the ball, plant their foot which stops their momentum, and then push off 
to throw to first.
 

Backhands are one of the tougher plays for infielders.  Like most other 
things in baseball, master the footwork and you’ll see quick 
improvements.


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