Here are some basic guidelines for pitchers when fielding ground balls:
- The slower the ball is hit, the faster the pitcher must move toward the ball.
- The slower the ball is hit, the more important it is for the pitcher to get his feet and body set to throw the ball.
- The pitcher should use two hands if the ball is moving, and only bare hand if the ball has stopped.
- If the ball has stopped rolling as you reach it on the run, press down before picking it up. It's counter intuitive, I know, but pressing down will actually help you get a firmer grip on the baseball and make it easier to pick it up.
- The key to proper fielding is to be square to the ball as it approaches. This position maximizes the glove area open to the ball, and provides a bigger obstacle for the ball to hit should it prove difficult to handle.
- If you have time, get over and into the path of the ball. Lead with your glove, always keeping it out in front of your body. Do your best to get in front of the ball; but if you can't, then judge the speed and trajectory of the ball to field it on the run.
- Once you're in front of the ball, your glove foot should be slightly ahead of your throwing foot, with your glove wide open very close to the ground. This position allows you to turn, look, step and throwing quickly.
- Remember to extend the glove in front of the body toward the ball. Keep the glove low! You can bring the glove up much quicker than you can move it down.
Watch the ball all the way into your glove, using both hands trap the ball in the glove, and then to get the ball out of the glove quickly for the throw.