Infield Drill – Short Hops

“As they round off the ground ball, fielders should speed up or slow down in order to field the hop of their choosing. Ideally, players first look to field a “big-hop” (long hop) when the bounce has passed its peak and the ball is on the way back down. Their second choice is to catch the ball off the “short-hop,” where the ball has just struck the ground and is beginning to move back up towards the peak.” Trent Mongero, Winning Baseball

Drill 1: Short Hop (Without or With Glove)

Source: Trent Mongero, Winning Baseball

Purpose: Improves a fielder’s mechanics and confidence when fielding short hops.

Video: Trent Mongero, Short Hop Drill
Setup Requirements:

  • One player with glove.
  • One ball feeder per player.
  • One or more balls.

Procedures:

  1. Player gets into ready position, ready to pick up ball on short hop.
  2. Feeder kneels about 8 feet away to get at angle similar to a hit ball and throws short hops just outside (6”) of player’s triangle fielding zone so that ball bounces before the fielding zone.
  3. Players extends fielding arm out and past the edge of the fielding zone keeping fingers down and relaxed and arm slightly bent.

Coaching Points/Keys:

  • Player is in correct fielding position.
  • The ball is fielded with fingers down.
  • The fingers are relaxed. “Tight muscles are slow muscles.”
  • Don’t get wristy. In other words, don’t flip fingers up when fielding ball. Keep fingers down as much as possible to catch ball where the fingers meet the palm. That area is equivalent to the pocket of the glove.
  • Don’t field the ball too early (i.e., too far out in front) as the player will get locked (i.e., arm is straight rather than slightly bent) and have hard hands that will not be able to absorb the ball.

Second Position:

Backhand. Player turned 90 degrees to pick up ball on backhand.

Procedures:

  1. Player turns to backhand side with glove side foot behind.
  2. Feet are pointing in direction player is facing.
  3. Player bends down so that back is flat. Heel of glove side foot is up.
  4. Player draws runway in front in direction ball is coming where he is going to scoop up ball.
  5. Feeder kneels about 8 feet away to get at angle similar to a hit ball and throws short hops just in front of player’s runway so that ball bounces before the runway.
  6. Players points elbow out and keeps it relaxed. Don’t want to lock arm straight out.
  7. Player works off of front toe (i.e., most of the weight is on front toe) keeping wrist and fingers to the ground as long as possible as he moves over runway to pick up ball on the short hop.

Coaching Points/Keys:

  • Player’s back is flat and parallel to the ground.
  • Player’s nose is pointing down.
  • Don’t field the ball too early (i.e., too far out in front) as the player will get locked (i.e., arm is straight rather than slightly bent) and have hard hands that will not be able to absorb the ball.

Final Position:

Fielding to glove side facing feeder.

Procedures:

  1. Player gets into ready position and then turns slightly to glove side and shifts his weight to his glove side.
  2. Feeder kneels about 8 feet away to get at angle similar to a hit ball and throws short hops to player’s glove side, outside of glove-side foot.
  3. Players extends fielding arm out and past the edge of the fielding zone keeping fingers down and relaxed and arm slightly bent.

Coaching Points/Keys:

  • Player is in correct fielding position.
  • The ball is fielded with fingers down.
  • Make sure the player stays low.
  • The fingers are relaxed. “Tight muscles are slow muscles.”
  • Don’t get wristy. In other words, don’t flip fingers up when fielding ball. Keep fingers down as much as possible to catch ball where the fingers meet the palm. That area is equivalent to the pocket of the glove.
  • Don’t field the ball too early (i.e., too far out in front) as the player will get locked (i.e., arm is straight rather than slightly bent) and have hard hands that will not be able to absorb the ball.