Wednesday Web Gem Tips – Curbing the Bad Effects of Indoor Practice
More Bad Effects than Good?
Never been a fan of taking infield indoors because the ball will always bounce true and up, so kids will get away with knowing where the ball will hop, which is not realistic. The result is kids do not have to keep their glove below the hop and out front, as with good fielding fundamentals, because they know it will bounce true and up to their glove. Often a false feeling of confidence occurs as well as developing bad habits. It would be different if kids played in season games on artificial turf, but they do not, of course. The obvious result is that when kids go outside to play, they are used to keeping the glove up where they think the ball will hop to, instead of down and adjusting to what the ball does.
Of course, players need to prepare for the season, so indoor practice is necessary and OK if coaches do the following. Coaches should begin by rolling balls from a very low position, where balls hug the ground for the most part. This will force fielders to begin by getting the glove down to begin. Coaches should begin all indoor practice with this type ground ball before proceeding to a variation of grounders.
Additionally, on all approaching ground balls, coaches should have players practice setting their glove below the hop and out front, as in good fielding mechanics, or even to the ground to begin, so they get used to coming up to balls with soft hands.
Once players develop the correct fielding techniques, coaches can proceed to hitting or rolling all kinds of ground balls, while still insisting on the correct fielding fundamentals that are necessary outside on dirt fields.
Image by monagrrl via Flickr