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Old 01-29-2010, 09:14 AM   #1
Mark_Kirchgessner
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Teach Your Child to Catch [For Beginners]

Learning the correct (and safe) way to catch a baseball… for beginners
By: Mark Kirchgessner

Equipment Required:
Tennis ball or safety ball [If the child is scared of the ball you can use a bean bag, rolled up socks or any soft object], Baseball Glove

Objective:
To teach younger players to catch the ball properly with correct hand placement

Keywords and Mechanics:
Above the waist = fingers up. Below the waist = fingers down
Watch the ball into the glove (or hand)

Setup:
The adult and child get on their knees or in sitting position spaced apart an acceptable distance which is comfortable and safe for your child to catch and throw from (aprox 10 ft). The adult should make direct throws without lobbing and with a minimum of arc.

This drill should alternate 5 minutes without a baseball glove and 5 minutes with a baseball glove and continue to repeat.

PART 1

- The players palms should be facing outwards with their fingers pointing directly upward
- Keep the hands in front of the body with arms outreached and slightly bent at the elbow
- If the ball is thrown above their waste their fingers should point upwards (for two hands the thumbs should be together)
- If the ball is thrown below their waste their fingers should point downward (for two hands the pinky fingers together)
- Don’t swat at the ball or lunge at the ball with the hands… let the ball come to the hand
- Watch the ball all the way to the hands
- The child should not look away from the ball until the hand closes on the ball

Players with smaller hands may not be able to actually catch the ball barehanded. That’s OK as this drill is simply to teach them
to practice correct hand placement as well as watching the ball and to not swat at the ball.

PART 2

Once the child begins to master the guidelines above, the use of a glove can be implemented and the same guidelines should be practiced. Once the glove is put on the hand, many younger players will revert back to trying to turn the palm upwards rather than outwards. Make sure to reinforce the same guidelines as previously practiced. After a glove is put onto the hand, many younger players stop using the proper techniques as practiced above and it presents a new set of challenges as listed below.

- Do not allow the player to turn the palm of the glove upward and attempt making “basket catches”
- Do not allow the player to point the fingers directly at the throw
- Reinforce that throws above the waist are to be caught with the fingers upwards with the palm outward
- Practice spreading the fingers as wide as possible to help open the glove enough for the ball to enter
- Don’t swat at the ball or lunge at the ball with the glove… let the ball come to the glove
- Watch the ball all the way into the glove
- The child should not look away from the ball until the glove closes with the ball inside

The addition of the glove may be more difficult for younger players. After a few minutes of throwing you may want to switch back
to the barehanded drill to help reinforce the proper techniques. This drill should alternate back and forth with and without a glove to help the player become accustom to using the same techniques with and without the glove.

Results:
For beginning players, this drill should be practice for about 15-20 minutes a few times a week. It can be done on the living room floor or in the backyard. You should see dramatic signs of improvement after only a few short weeks of performing this drill.

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Notes to parents…

If you have your own style or ideas of how to teach your child to catch properly… please DO IT.

This is only a suggestion for those parents of kids that are not currently catching the correct way.

Any practice or drill repeated a few times a week will help.. as long as it teaches the proper mechanics.

With the limited number of practices and a limited time we have to practice...we simply cannot teach every child
to catch in addition to teaching them the other skills needed for 6U baseball.

We want the kids to be safe on the field during a throw from another players as well as during a potential line drive

If they don’t turn their glove the right way… it will eventually lead to an injury and will therefore limit our ability to be play them in certain positions during practices and games.

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