4 Baseball fielding tips from Rockies Nolan Arenado

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In this video, 2 Gold Glove infielders are about to share some VERY valuable baseball fielding tips.

The other day I stumbled across this video and was struck by the depth and quality of the infield tips shared by these two “heavyweights.”

The things is, both of these guys aren’t the type to just skate by on the their talent.

Nope! Both of these guys are students of the game, which is what makes a video like this so incredibly valuable.

I just had to make sure you had the opportunity to watch (or re-watch) it… particularly in light of the following 4 things:

Baseball Fielding Tips – #1 – Avoid this mistake and it will save you a lot of errors

In the video, Nolan is talking his own daily routine, but he actually touches on something that is a VERY common mistake I see infielders making.

This is something that causes a lot of errors.  If you want to be a good infielder, pay attention to how low Arenado gets in his routine fielding stance and talks about how to field a ground ball.

The fingers of his glove are actually touching the ground.

In my experience, most players THINK they’re lower than they actually are.

Plus, there’s a very common tendency – both for beginners AND for those who know better – to hinge at the waste instead of getting low the proper way.

This tendency is exactly why Arenado STILL to this day begins his infielder work by focusing on this very thing.

When Alex asks Nolan,

“When you start catching your first five to 10 ground balls, what are you trying to work on? What are you seeing?

Nolan tells him that the very first thing he works on EVERY DAY is…

“I wanna stay low. That’s like my main thing. I always try to start low.

That’s like the first reminder I have when I’m taking ground balls is like stay low.

You know, don’t create the lazy habit of just bending at the hips.

Like getting those legs move them. That’s kind of what I’m a reminder for me. You want to keep that head nice and low.”

Baseball Fielding Tips – #2 – Footwork for an easy transition to a more powerful, more accurate throw across the infield

Look at Nolan’s left foot position, how it’s behind his right foot when he fields the ball.

This is contrary to “traditional” teaching. I was taught to field with left foot forward “because it sets up your throw better” and many are still taught that way today.

However, I had a life-changing experience in high school when I was able to learn from a former MLB infielder.  That’s when I learned that fielding a baseball becomes much easier if I have my left foot back.

It gives more room for your glove to move, and makes for a much easier transition to the throw.

Baseball Fielding Tips – #3 – Glove position timing

There’s a lot more that goes in to glove position than you might think at first glance… and a lot of ways that players “shoot themselves in the foot” and make things much harder than they need to be.

But if I had to sum it all up in a single sentence, I would say get your glove presented to the ball early.​ When you watch this video, pay attention to when Nolan gets his glove into position.

Baseball Fielding Tips – #4 – Work from Low to high

In the video, (below) briefly Nolan makes a point about working from low to high.

This is an easy one to miss, which is why I wanted to point it out before you start watching.

If you want to reduce errors and create a trickle down effect that helps you be a better fielder from start to finish, this is a big one.

People say it in different ways, “Works underneath the baseball” or “go from down to up” or “low to high,” but the basic idea is that it’s easier to come up with the ball than it is to have to quickly drop down lower to go get it.

Alright.

There’s your 4 things to pay attention as Nolan Arenado gives his fielding tips in the video.

(Plus, he’s also going to share other tips, such as double play feeds, how to field a slow roller, and making throws across the infield from your knees.)

I hope the infield tips in this video are helpful.


Enjoy,​

Doug

(Who’s Doug?)

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Video Transcript

 


Below is a partial transcript of the video.  Headings have been added for emphasis and clarity.

———Begin Transcript ———

Baseball Fielding Tips – 1 – Get low, don’t hinge at the hips

Alex Rodriguez: When you start catching your first five to 10 ground balls, what are you trying to work on? What are you seeing?

Nolan Arenado: I wanna S I wanna stay low. That’s like my main thing. I always try to start low. That’s like the first reminder I have when I’m taking ground balls is like stay low. You know Don’t create the lazy habit of just bending at the hips. Like getting those legs move them. That’s kind of what I’m a reminder for me. You want to keep that head nice and low. Yeah, exactly.

Nolan Arenado: It’s hard to take ground balls like this. You know what I’m saying? Like I want to be like in my legs … so the throw becomes easier.

Nolan Arenado: Let me see. You have that glove down there. Yeah, always nice. You still got it dude.

Speaker 1: Yeah. So Nolan, I have a bar right there. Yeah, I have a bar right there. I have the bunt play right there and the fly ball. Oh, hold on. Thanks brother. Hey, as far as, ya know, you have a ball right there to your backhand, ball to your forehand. You have the bunt play right there. Yeah. And you have the fly ball behind you. I was pretty good at this backend. Fairly good. It’s going to my left. I was okay on the bunt. I was terrible. And fly balls behind me. Yeah, you’re good at all of them. That’s what makes you so good. I mean, it is a fearlessness?

Speaker 1: Yeah, I guess that’s, you know, I want the ball hits me. You know, that’s kind of my whole thing. When I take ground balls, you know, I want the ball hit to me. I work on all these plays.

Nolan Arenado: These are all plays. I work on the slow roller, the backhand and the forehand. These are things I work on everyday with Stu and it’s just kind of reminder, you know, so when the game starts, I’m super comfortable, but you know, I want him to do them every day and I want the ball hit to me. I think a lot of times sometimes you get a little frantic where you just don’t want the ball hit to you. I kinda want the ball hit to me. And sometimes you make errors and sometimes you make mistakes. But as long as I keep that mindset, I feel like good things happen. What’s your favorite play I would say the backhand, the backhand jump throw. I feel like that play I do pretty well, but it’s hard to say. You know, the, the spin in the five, six hole, it’s tough.

A-Rod: I feel like that that’s the five, six hole ball can be tough on me. Yeah. So I really worked on that as off-season to get better at that one. So I’ve got a lot more comfortable. But for sure the backhand down the line just cause it’s such a far throw. I’ve seen you throw from your knees. This is something you work on. Yeah, I do. One time in high school, I’m my old high school, I was laying on the ground practicing, throwing from my knees and my ha, my coach was like, dude, what are you doing And I’m like, I’m just trying to feel comfortable with it. But sometimes I do. It’s just a rush, you know, whatever my instincts are telling me to do. I do it.

A-Rod: I want to show our viewers at home how good you are because sometimes you make it look so easy that I don’t think the viewers at home really can appreciate it.

A-Rod: If you would come back here with me, mr camera sir, I want you to, I want the folks at home, if you could stand right here, right behind me and I want you to look all the way to first base. Now Nolan makes this play look so routine explained to us and explain to the viewers at home, sometimes you going away Jeter S jumping from one leg and throwing an absolute strike. Tell us about it. Yeah. You know, I think a lot of, lot of times, you know, I think it’s all about body. Like if you can get your body like coiled up to make a throw, it’s kind of like hitting you. Like you want to get like gain, you know, getting your legs or load up. That’s kinda how I do it. I’m fielding, you know, I have to make sure I gather my feet, get on the right foot and gather, make a hard throw and create some momentum.

Alex Rodriguez: So again, our viewers at home are confused. So I want you to literally, I’m going to go like this. I want you to walk us through slow motion until tell our viewers at home what you’re thinking when you talk about coil and what you’re thinking about to get in position to read. So go in slow motion for us.

 

Nolan: Well I feel that after once I feel that the first thing I do is to try and get a good grip. Sometimes you don’t have time, you know how it goes, you know you something to have at a time. So you just want to get it released. So sometimes when I feel that I just want to make sure I’m throwing off the right foot. So for me it’s, it’s this foot. So I’m trying to gather and then I tried to gather and turn and make a good throw.

Footwork for the transition to throwing (with more power and accuracy)

Nolan: I feel like I get, I gather power and arm strength pushing off this leg. Lego you jumping off when you leave air man. I’m trying to think of the ground travel thinking about, but I think it’s a, I think it’s my right, my right leg. I do it a lot and sometimes my left sometimes, you know, you just kinda jump and make a twist, but I feel like I can gain more strength on the throw pushing off my right leg. But you look in this way and you’re throwing that way. Yeah. How do you do that I think it’s just repetition. Just knowing where the guy is. You know, I’ve made so many throws from back here that I just kind of know where the angle is. you know, and we’ve had good first baseman, so I just know if I get in that vicinity we’ll be all right.

 

Alex Rodriguez: And we usually get out, but sometimes, you know, you don’t want to be thinking about, I’m making a perfect throw from here cause it’s probably not to happen. You just try to get it off pretty nice crate. Good. Hopefully backspin toward that, toward it first and good things happen. So you have the combination of being extremely aggressive.

Baseball Fielding Tips – 4 – Work from Low to High

Alex Rodriguez: Some can call you reckless, but yet fundamentally you always make the routine play. Do you spend a lot of time in your fundamentals?

Nolan Arenado: Absolutely. Absolutely. I always, like I said earlier, you know I tried to start, start low, low to high. That’s where I was always taught growing up. It’s what means to always talk about is low to high.

 

Alex Rodriguez: What does that mean low to high?

Nolan Arenado: So when the ground balls coming, I’m starting here and then I go up. The last thing you want to do when the ball is right here is go down to it.

Cause if it takes a bad hop then you’re going up. So I’d rather start low. So if it takes a bad hop, I’m up. And then I’m already making my throw. So low to high. So go to low high. When that ball goes into this platinum glove, are you trying to catch it or is just deflecting Tell us about that. Yeah. You know, I think I’m trying to catch it.

You know, I always try to squeeze, I try to squeeze and then I try to transfer real quick, bring to the chest. A lot of people I think get in trouble or the times I’ve gone in trouble is when I feel it and I kinda just get here and then I throw when I’m going good or when I make the fundamentals right is I field it and I bring it to the chest so I can find that grip.

Alex: So if you can follow it on here, there was a play you made. They, I know you remember there’s a very Jeter-esque play. You’ve sprinted all the way over here. Yeah. And you went to the top. Was that San Francisco San Francisco, yeah. Tell us about what part of your crazy brain tells you not to slow down. I think I was just young and just, they just wanted to catch the ball.

Nowadays. I probably wouldn’t make a move like that, but you know what man Honestly, it was just kind of an instinct. Play I San Fran, the wind is crazy there. The ball was kind of comes back. You always have a chance for the ball. I kind of knew that because I’ve hit a lot enough foul balls when they come back and play. I’m gone down. So I’ve kind of known that. So I just knew I had a chance and I just kinda went for it.

 

Nolan: When I sprint over here, I always think about there’s a chance that I can get hurt and maybe miss a significant amount of time. Yeah. Is there any part of that you’re saying like careful, at that time, no, not a lot of times. I really don’t. It’s dangerous a lot of times I don’t, I I tried to just be calm and try, just try to make every play. Man, I just wanted to get out, so I just wanna help the pitchers out .

Baseball Fielding Tips for handling a slow roller

Alex: Let’s go talk a little bit about the bunt play you one of the best in the business at, at this bunt play. So it can be a bump play or a swinging bunt. Kind of walk us through if that bar’s right there. If you can pay that full speed for me as much full speed as you can now grab that bar and make a photo and then we’ll talk about this flag. Okay. The swinging bunt.

Alex: “I want you to talk about the technique. We call it the claw. Yeah. The best I ever saw this with Scott brochures and Robin Ventura. Yeah. Tell us when you come into this bar, which part of your hand and you’re trying to grab it with Yeah, I think I’m trying to scoop it. That’s kinda how I, I get it. I try to scoop. So when I go for the ball, I tried to get here, you know, I want to create as much time so I could roll it into my hand.

That’s kind of what I think about, you know, especially when the ball is coming. When it’s, you know, sitting there, it’s hard to like do it, but when the ball’s rolling you definitely wanna scoop it. And to be honest with you, sometimes I feel that with that grip already ready, right on. Which can be a mistake, but sometimes I do it because I just want to get rid of the thrill, especially if it’s got a D Gordon or you’ve got that fast, you’ve got to get rid of it.

Nolan: So you’ve got to get ready. But yeah, I always try to get her right here and then just transferred into my hand and just make a throw. So Dee Gordon is flying. Show me how you grabbing it and from what angle are you throwing and if you can get right behind him so you can show where he’s throwing.

Nolan: Yeah. Yeah. So when I get the ball,

Baseball fielding tips from Nolan Arenado

Nolan demonstrates his grab and throwing grip for fielding a slow roller

Baseball fielding and throwing tips

Nolan demonstrates his preferred arm angle for making a powerful throw

so when I’m fielding I, it’s not so much a scoop anymore. It’s more of a It’s more of a do or die grip a kid, get it here and then I just kinda just get it right from that angle you throw in all the way across. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. And hopefully I’ll make it there and hopefully the first baseman skips me

Nolan: up. Yeah. Andy, what angle this guy’s put on a clinic here.

Double play feed

Alex Rodriguez1: All right, cool. So let’s talk about the double play ball.

Nolan Arenado: Yeah.

Double play ball: So when this ball comes at you, tell me what your goal is as far as to being in the front end of a devil. Play what your goal is. You catch it and throw it. Walk me through that.

Correct shuffle: It’s one thing. It’s the, it’s all about the, I think it’s feet too. You know, I wanna, I wanna feel, didn’t make sure I’m shuffling this way, not crossing over. I’m shuffling this way and just making it a good throw for him.

Set up the transfer: You know, my, my, he, his job is to make the good transfer, but I gotta give him a chance to make a good transfer.

And you know, you see sometimes when you throw a ball low and then he tries to make it throw, sometimes he’ll throw it low or high cause he’s trying to like make a play, you know, so, so I really try to take pride and you gotta hit him in the chest, you know, give him a chance to make a turn.

Nolan: So all I think about is me getting my feet toward him, trying to make a good four seam throw to our second basement in the chest.

Four Seam Grip

Alex Rodriguez: And you’re saying four seam so the ball doesn’t fade away.

Nolan: Exactly. I don’t want to throw this one cause if it’s low, sometimes it’s sinker and then he has to throw something like this. I want to make sure I’m hitting him in the chest. So it’s an easy transfer.

Alex Rodriguez: And if you miss, are you trying to miss towards first base or toward right field

Nolan Arenado: Towards right, left field left.

Nolan: I want to go left with the bag. I don’t want to go for it cause that’s where the runner, I don’t want him to get hit, you know, I don’t want to hurt him. So always try to go left with the bag.

Infielders – How to make a throw from your knees

Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. And then talk to us a little bit. I would love for you to get this play over here and from your knees. Tell me what you’re trying to do. Cause I know you saw it all depends. You know, I think the knee plays more

of a dive.

Throw from knees: So average runner, average runner, you’re going way over here Yeah, you get on the grass right here and from here, show

me what you’re thinking. So you’re thinking one or two things, you either thinking straight in the air or maybe a long hop which was happening.

Long hop: Yeah, it’s more of a long hop. Sometimes I’m, if I’m feeling it, I’m trying to throw, but I try to get in this position so I can kinda like, like I said, gathering coil up and make a throw. That’s kind of how I think about it. you know, I definitely want to throw it like this cause you have no momentum.

Speaker 1: So I tried to get my foot here

and then trying to let it eat a little bit and hopefully make a good throw. But definitely try a long haul.

Speaker 1: When you say let it ease, I mean you’re hungry or you’re trying to throw so, so from here you actually try it.

Speaker 1: Let me see that

ball. Let me see if I can do this. I don’t have a platinum glove. I have a couple of gold ones. you’re saying from here you’re going here or from here you’re going up top.

Speaker 1: Top. The body’s in the way. I’m just trying to throw from like right

here.

Speaker 1: So I’m just trying to, I can’t do this. I want to make sure I’m just kind of getting it right here cause I’m going to have you throw three of them. See how accurate you can be. I think I could do it right. You know, I need two balls. Can I get two balls And you can show me kind of, I can do it both a chest.

Speaker 2:

Let’s see if I do it. All right, let’s see it. How are we doing

All right Huh Okay. i’ll see if I can get this

one a little higher.

Speaker 1: Hey man,

I got an idea. The Rocky should give you a longterm extension.

I know, I appreciate it. Thanks. I appreciate it.

About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

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