How to field a backhand ground ball | Baseball Fielding Drills

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SiFormer MLB shortstop teaches 5 HUGE keys for how to field a backhand ground ball, plus 3 backhand fielding drills (a 3 stage progression) that you can use to practice your fielding at home.

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I’m really excited to share this new video with you.

As you may know by now, I’m extremely passionate about infield defense.

This is because it litterally saved my baseball career, paid for my full tuition at a D1 University, and kept me playing baseball long enough to make it to the Major Leagues.

5 Keys for how to field a backhand ground ball with more consistency and confidence

Today’s video is all about one of the biggest problems that keeps kids from feeling confident in the infield.¬†

When I see players begin to trust their backhand, I can literally see the stress on their face melting away and being replaced by confidence.

It’s incredible to watch!

And I want that for you.

So in today’s video, I’m going to share 5 keys to dominate the most common of the 4 types of backhands… the ROUTINE backhand.

I’ll be sharing with you…

The ultra common mistake infielders make on routine groundballs that causes WEAK, wimpy and errant throws to first base (Even infielders with a really strong arm can look like they have a weak arm if making this mistake)

1 thing you won’t believe you’re doing wrong.¬† This mistake is so common, and it leads to many errors.¬† But the good news is that it’s pretty easy to fix… if you know about it.

2 Common glove mistakes that are wrecking your consistency¬†(Hint: It’s related to the path the glove is on)

Why “setting up¬†your throws” the wrong way is causing you to miss¬†groundballs (& what to do instead, including the¬†easy “elbow test” to tell if you’re doing it correctly)

2 Drills to develop a spectacular, eye-catching backhand that you trust, and can’t wait to show off

Backhand fielding progression

On knees, working with a routine backhand.  Knees and shoulders are in line.  Drills you can do at home, by yourself IF you have a wall or a pitchback net.  How to work through and under the ball, rather being high and stabbing down.

IMPORTANT – The first step is to watch the video, because…

  1. The 5 Keys to a consistent backhand are ONLY in the video
  2.  Learning how to field a backhand ground ball is WAY easier with show-and-tell, rather than just typing

So, I highly recommend that before reading the text below, you start by watching this video first ūüĎáūüĎáūüĎáūüĎáūüĎá


4 keys to proper execution of the Backhand Drills 

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you watch the backhand drills on the video.¬† It’s difficult to explain these things in text.

1 – Hand on the ground.

This is HUGE.¬† Most kids THINK their hand is low, but it’s actually not, which opens up a host of other problems… not just the ground¬†ball scooting below your fingers in a game (super embarrassing), but also forcing you to stab down on the ball instead of¬†fielding¬†up and through it.¬† This makes it far less likely that you will be successful, since it requires perfect timing and there’s no room for a miscalculation.

2 – Elbow pointed at the ball.

The glove path is SO IMPORTANT.¬† Done correctly, this will make your backhand much more consistent and trustworthy.¬† The simple “elbow test” can tell you if you’re doing it correctly.

3.  Catch the baseball between your thumb and pointer finger.

This will cause the web of your glove to open more to the ball and will help the ball stick in your glove.

4. When fielding with your backhand, keep your glove in a straight on the same path as the ground ball.  You do this by hinging at the elbow (see the video for demonstration).

No “coming around your body.”¬† ¬†No stabbing at the ball.

If done improperly, you’ll need to have perfect timing when you field the ball, and it makes fielding with your backhand WAY¬†more difficult.

If done CORRECTLY, this is a HUGE key to making your back hand more consistent and reliable.

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3 Stages of the Backhand Drill Progression

Stage 1

Stage 1 of the backhand fielding drill progression is to get on your knees and do the drill barehanded.

Even for advanced infielders, it’s a great idea to do this occasionally as maintenance to keep your skills sharp.¬† But especially for youth baseball players, this is a critical part of the learning phase.

Stage 1 of the Backhand Fielding Drills

Stage 2

Stage 2 of these fielding drills is to add the glove, still on knees.

ūüüĘ A note for advanced infielders:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking steps 1 and¬†2¬†of the fielding drill¬†progression (being¬†on your knees) are just for beginners.

Fielding on your knees is a great way to get a lot of touches in while saving your legs.

I incorporated it into my own infield work all the way up to my final professional season.

For example, take a 100 backhands as a warmup to my off season work.

It was an important part of my off season work, since it helped to keep my hand/eye coordination sharp and glove-work crisp.

5 Keys for how to field a backhand ground ball | Baseball Fielding tips from former MLB infielder

Stage 3

Stage 3 is to stand up and get into your full fielding stance and field the backhand ground balls with your glove.

The important thing is to keep proper¬†form.¬† We don’t want to lose all the work we just did on the¬†4 keys¬†while on our knees.

Pro Tip for Stage 3, don’t over extend.¬†

Don’t reach forward and get outside of the ideal fielding zone.¬† You’ll have maximum adjustability (to handle the unexpected), and maximum success, if you field the groundball in the ideal zone, which is between your shoulder and belly button.


Click here to sign up for 6 Secrets of Elite Infielders¬†ūüĎą

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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