How to properly execute the backhand catch when fielding ground balls and line drives. The baseball backhand is a critical defensive skill that all infielders should master.
How to field a backhand ground ball starts from the moment the ball is hit, including reading the ball, knowing the best route to meet the ball, timing and more. See below for steps and tips from former MLB infielder Doug Bernier
1. First step quickness
First step quickness is important. Try to beat the ball to a spot. It looks bad if you are lazy to meet the ball at a spot because you were timing it – and inevitably this will lead to more mistakes and missed opportunities.
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.
(To learn more about infield footwork and other critical concepts, check out this free email course 👉 6 Secrets of Elite Infielders )
2. Foot Position.
When fielding a backhand catch, have your right foot in front of your left foot. Use this unless you have no other choice.
3. Take your glove through the baseball.
Once your feet are in a good position, it is now time to use your glove to work through the baseball. You want to try to field the baseball in between your thumb and pointer finger. Take your glove and move it through the baseball. This aggressive move gets your momentum going in the right direction.
4. Starting Your Momentum.
Once fielding with this backhand catch, your 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. After we field this ball (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 types of baseball backhands during practice, because you will need both of them in the games (see video below)
About the Author: Doug Bernier played professionally for 16 season, including time with the following organizations: Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, & Texas Rangers. Following his retirement from playing baseball, he was a Professional Scout for the Colorado Rockies for 2 seasons. Currently Bernier is a member of the Colorado Rockies Major League staff, functioning as the team’s Game Planning Coordinator.
To learn more about fielding from Doug Bernier, you’re invited to enroll in his free email course 👉 6 Secrets of Elite Infielders