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INfield Grounders

Mar 2, 2009
Suffolk, VA
I know this is going to sound awfully silly, but I just want to know if ANYONE else ever teaches or HEARD this before.......... (Sounds completely OPPOSITE of what I teach.)

** Heard a 16U coach tell his infield that when they get a ball that is bouncing to them to BACK UP to give them time to read the ball!

1) I've ALWAYS Taught unless a ball is a bullet to them, they always MOVE to the ball, and NEVER Backup on it, otherwise you let the ball play you and you DON'T know if it bounces funny. Always move TOWARD the ball, that's the point of the bucket-Short Hop drill to get the player to move FORWARD.

2) If its coming somewhat fast, they don't have time to react to BACKUP. If its coming SLOW, they BETTER be moving to the ball, or you'll never get the out!

(Now I HAVE taught on an IN-BETWEEN Hop, that you pull your glove to the side of your hip to give yourself more time to play the ball, but that is rare and at most levels, we haven't spent a lot of time on that. ** Maybe this is what he heard and misinterpretted......... )
May 13, 2008
Howard Kobata would have a thing or two to say about that technique, but I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that barrage. It'd be fun to watch though.


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
Until last week, I would have agreed with you.

During the CWS, I saw an infielder step back on a bouncer, and it was the correct way to play that particular ball. The ball was coming very fast. Had she tried to move up to make the play, she would have been forced to try to dig a bouncer out of the dirt, which I doubt she could have done. By stepping back, the ball ended up at her waist, making it a very easy play.

Also, you've got to consider the slap hitters driving the ball down into the ground. They end up putting a lot of spin on the ball.

Perhaps any general rule about how to play a ball is nonsense. Advanced players react to the ball. They don't have an internal dialogue about fielding. They don't think, "Hmmm...this is a slow roller, so I'll drop step, circle the ball, and then charge it." They just go get it.

Mar 2, 2009
Suffolk, VA
I'm not an advocate for teaching to back off a ball, as my feeling is more times then not, the ball plays you and bad things happen, PLUS telling a fielder this lets ANOTHER variable in her head and I think her reaction to generally attack the ball, could be skewed with hestitation if she has to consider whether she should back up and in a split second she has, I think this is going to cause more problems then the plays that could possibly be made by doing that.
** I MUST be getting old, in not wanting to change my way of thinking on this. Coach is older then me, but he is good and more willing to be open minded.
Feb 8, 2009
There aren't many instances where it makes sense to back up on a ball. I believe that's what they call "letting the ball play you". If you are playing in, and the ball is hit hard, I can buy that.

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