When it comes to teaching proper backhand fielding technique, the final piece of the puzzle can be a difficult thing to teach. Today’s 3 tips on coaching youth baseball are to help youth baseball and softball infielders dial in their backhand.
Once an infielder can:
- Present the glove properly on a routine backhand and
- Works below the ball
…there is still one more issue that many deal with.
And that is TIMING.
What should proper backhand fielding technique (& timing) look like?
On a routine backhand we want to plant our right foot into the ground and work through the ball with our left foot (glove foot) if we are right handed throwers.
But, for this to happen effectively we need to give ourselves enough space between our body and the incoming ground ball so we can not only execute our footwork but, we can get our glove into a proper position.
This timing element is practiced in a fielding drill we use in the Confident Infielder program called “right foot balance” or the “flamingo drill”.
The reason this drill is so incredibly effective (even though we used it primarily for routine fielding) is that it teaches balance on the right foot and create control slow timing with the placement of the glove foot to create time, rhythm and hop adjustability.
(Timing, rhythm and hop adjustability are created in many ways during the fielding process, but this is one of the most important ways)
Our goal is for the left foot to hit the ground just before the ball hits our glove.
Why is this is difficult to get right?
This is a delicate balance.
⚠️ If the footwork happens TOO LATE (which happens most often on backhands) the ball gets on us quickly and we lose our athleticism and our basic mechanical foundations.
⚠️ If the footwork happens TOO EARLY we risk having our footwork stop and we get stiff.
An interesting side note: We don’t start getting stiff until BOTH feet stop moving, if one is still and the other is moving we are still good.
Tips to correct timing for the backhand
Ok, so the important question is how do we accomplish proper timing.
Backhand Tip #1:
Don’t drift towards your backhand, try to beat the ball to the spot and place your right foot as quickly as possible.
Backhand Tip #2:
Take the left foot through the ball with the same timing as routine fielding. This slight pause between the right and left foot placement is critical and it allows everything else to fall into place.
Backhand Tip #3:
Have your left foot working through the ball while the ball is still in front of your lead foot. This idea is similar to hitting. In the same way we need to create space to execute our swing, we also need enough space to execute our backhand.
Work on creating more time for yourself and you will see a HUGE improvement in the confidence of using your backhand.
I hope those tips on coaching youth baseball are helpful for you.
If you’re looking for step-by-step instruction to master fielding fundamentals — including teaching videos and organized drill progressions — check out my video-based program called The Confident Infielder.
You can do it from anywhere in the world, completely on your own schedule. I provide an optional schedule to follow, which is 20 minutes per day for 60 days.
(It does not have to be 60 consecutive days… it’s meant to flexible to real life).
But even with just 20 minutes a day, you will be shocked at how much your fielding (and your confidence) is transformed. Click here to learn more about that.
I hope you have a great day.