How to properly execute the backhand catch when fielding ground balls and line drives. This is a critical defensive skill that all infielders should master.
1.First step quickness
pro tips for how to execute a backhand catch

NY Yankee Doug Bernier backhands an infield ground ball. Image by Ed Wolfstein.

First step quickness is important when executing a backhand catch.  Try to beat the baseball to a spot.  Do not lazily meet the ball at a spot because you were timing it. The quicker you move the better angle you can create to help field the ball a step or two closer to home plate. This will give you more time and a shorter throw. (diagram coming soon)

(Coming Soon — Drills to Improve First Step Quickness)

2.Foot Position.

When fielding a backhand, have your right foot in front of your left foot. Use this unless you have no other choice. (diagram coming soon)

The reason we field in this fashion is that we are already in a good throwing position. Both eyes are easily able to track the baseball into your glove and the left leg is not in the way of your glove to move freely to field the ball. (diagram — coming soon)

3.Starting Your Momentum.

After fielding the backhand catch, our feet are already in the correct position.   Push off the back (right) foot and get some momentum toward first base to make a throw.

When there is not enough to time.

The opposite foot position is used (left foot in front) only on balls where we can’t set our feet in time. (diagram coming soon) After we field the baseball (this is a long throw), we need to get some type of momentum and square our feet up to first base before we throw.

Pro Fielding Tip:

Work on both ways to field back hands during practice, because you will need both of them in the games.

Next Articles on Fielding:
  1. Professional Fielding Tips for Infielders
  2. How to Field Routine Ground Balls
  3. Backhand Plays
  4. Forehand Ground Balls
  5. Plays on-the-run, and slow rollers

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. Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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