To give players practice fielding ground balls that they would have to field as a short hop if they didn't move.
Have two lines of players who will work in pairs just as if they are playing catch. Set the distance between the two lines at about 60-90 feet depending on age.
Players will take turns throwing short-hops to one another. As the ball in the air the player fielding the ball will need to adjust his position to either get closer to the ball and catch it right at the bounce or back up slightly to catch the ball at a higher point to make the play easier. See the diagram below and have your players try to catch the ball in the green areas.
The ball should be thrown right at the player not to the side. The players should be working on getting the correct depth and learning when to charge the ball, when to stay put, and when to back up slightly.
Players should vary the distance and arc on the ball to help the other player work on many different types of short-hops.
The graphic below shows the best positions to catch the ball and avoid a short-hop.
Coaching Tip: Make sure the players understand that it is preferable to charge the ball and catch it as it hits the ground rather than backing up. Depending on age and arm strength, you may have players that won't be able to throw a runner out if they back up. If that's the case you may want to modify the drill so the players do not have the option to back up.
Hello. I wanted to thank you and let you know I used the motivational patches last year for a team of 1st and 2nd graders. I started with a group that made me think it was going to be a long season but once we instituted the patches in the second game the difference was night and day. Kids were hustling for the bolt patch (the favorite), earned their pitching privilege stripe with the baseball patch, and showed much greater effort to earn Attitude and Defense patches.
- Matt V.