If the ball is stops just a few feet in front of the plate, you will want to round the ball keeping yourself facing the field and getting yourself in a good position to scoop the ball and throw to first. If there are runners on base, this is also the ball that will give you the opportunity to throw out the lead runner. As you approach the ball, you will want to scoop the ball with both your glove and throwing hand. This will give you a better of fielding the ball cleanly over using your glove hand or bare hand alone. Since you are fielding it between your legs and you have rounded the ball, you're in a great position to scoop the ball and throw accurately.
If the ball is farther down the line, you will not have the time to round it. In this case you will take a direct line towards the ball. As you reach the ball, step over it and plant your right leg. You are then in a good position to scoop the ball, turn, step and throw.
If the ball stops a few feet from home, you will use the scoop method described above to field the ball. The main difficulty with the play is avoiding the runner as you throw the ball to first. A good baserunner will run down the inside part of the baseline making it more difficult to get the ball by him. The first baseman can help you out by standing clearly on the inside of the bag to give you a good target. You may still find that once you have scooped up the ball you need to move farther into fair territory to have a better angle to throw to first. Make sure you throw the ball overhand to eliminate the ball from tailing in toward the runner.
One of the most difficult plays is the ball that is hit or bunted farther down the first base line. Not only will the runner be closer to the base by the time you field it (making it more difficult to throw the ball without hitting him), but you may not have the time to scoop it and set up to throw. In this case you will need to bare hand the ball and throw it sidearm to first base.
Related Baseball Drills
Catcher Fielding Bunts
When catching a pop-up in foul or fair territory, it's essential for you to realize that the ball will curve towards the infield as it comes down. Once you have located the ball, you want to make sure you run to where you will catch the ball and then discard your mask. If you drop it immediately, you may end up tripping over it as you track the ball.
Except for a pop-up, when fielding balls out in front of the plate you want to get your mask off and out of the way as quickly as possible.