Source: Trent Mongero, Winning Baseball
Cap in Mouth
Each infielder removes his hat, puts the bill of the cap in his mouth, and holds it in place upside down with his teeth. This small trick reinforces a good fundamental fielding position. Players can execute all fielding drills in this manner to force them to catch the ground ball out in front of their body where they can see it. If they let the ball get too far underneath their torso, they will lose sight of the ball, making a clean catch difficult.
Perfect Fielding Position Throws
While they are warming up, each infielder can spend time getting into a perfect fielding position with the ball in his glove prior to making a throw. Each fielder then moves his body into a power position and finishes with a quick throw to emphasize good fielding and throwing mechanics.
With or without a glove, players throw a tennis ball against a wall and move their bodies to field the ball in a perfect fielding position. Then they should quickly transfer to a good throwing position in the direction of their imaginary first baseman. Fielders can simulate routine ground balls, and, with some creativity, can work on double play fees and pivots. This drill can also be executed with a partner who makes a throw to the wall from behind the fielder, who must successfully react to the speed, angle, and bounce of the ball to make the pre-detemined play.
First, the coaches roll ground balls to fielders, then they hit them to the players, and eventually they progress to game-like repetitions, where players field and throw to a base or turn double plays at game speed. Note. An infielder will benefit more from fewer repetitions performed correctly at full speed than, say, fielding one hundred ground balls with lazy mechanics at three-quarter speed.
Use cones in creative ways to force players to execute fielding skills correctly. For example, players can go around a cone to get the feel for rounding off a routine ground ball hit right at them. This can help them visually perceive your teaching cues as well as to assist their actual performance in practice or executing specific drills.
Players field ground ball against the time of a stopwatch to ensure they are fielding at game speed. The watch starts when the ball is hit and stops when the ball is caught at first base. On fields with 90-foot bases, all plays should be executed in four seconds or less.
Get Wide to Field Low
Ask fielders who are having trouble getting into a proper fielding position to create an exaggerated, wide fielding stance with their feet. This will help them get their body extra low and assist them with extending their hands to catch the ball in front of them. A coach should hit firm fungos or throw the ball firmly directly at the fielder from thirty or forty feet away. Once players learn to routinely field the ball cleanly from this stance, they should advance to a standard fielding position to make the catch, and quickly transition to a power position to prepare to make their throw.
Have advanced infielders take some practice time fielding routinely hit ground balls with their bare hands. The ground balls should be hit softly with a fungo bat or rolled by a coach. This helps create soft hands and forces better footwork to get players into a good fielding position. Be sure not to hit the ball too hard because you could possibly injure the fielder’s hands or cause players to fear the ball, which can result in bad habits. If a fielder does not catch the ball cleanly to complete the drill, he should always retrieve the ball with his throwing hand off the ground to reinforce the process of when a ball is bobbled or dropped in a game. A variation of this drill can be done with fielding paddles, which are tools used by some coaches to reinforce soft hands when catching the ball.
Quick Feet Quick Release
Players stand approximately twenty feet apart and see how many throws and exchanges they can make back and forth in twenty seconds. They should attempt to quickly move their feet and throw the ball at the height at which they receive it.
Jumping rope is a great exercise to improve footwork. Players need quick feet to be consistent fielders. They should use a variety of footwork combinations to help master body timing and control.
Infielders should learn to juggle a minimum of three baseballs with both hands and two baseballs at one time with one hand. This promotes coordination, peripheral vision, and the ability to trust their instincts. When a player become proficient with baseballs, he should vary the size and shapes of the objects he is juggling to add increasing difficulty.
Simply throw the ball into the air, spinning it in various directions, before making the catch. Once the ball enters the glove, it should be removed immediately without looking at it. Players must quickly feel for a four-seam grip. The process of instinctively finding the four-seam grip is critical for all infielders who want their throws to travel straight in flight to the intended destination.