Coaching: Infield Grounder Drills
The label of “routine ground ball” suggests that it’s an easy out, but we see errors at every level in this situation, from little league to the World Series – It’s behind the bag! We understand errors happen, but for any skill to become routine, it takes practice and repetition to create confidence in players.
With the help of a pitching machine, such as the ATEC M3, you can replicate a topspin hop to infielders and create realistic groundball training. The topspin created by the machine makes infielders get their butts down and hands out in front fast. Small adjustments to the speed controls (wheel speed) on the machine will create different hops that replicate different hits and game situations. Infield drills with the ATEC M3 allow you to not only work on the fundamentals of an infield ground ball, but also these game situations and different scenarios. It’s the most efficient way for a coach to train infielders today!
If you have access to a baseball or softball diamond, start the drill by setting up the ATEC M3 Pitching Machine in foul territory along the 3rd base line. Set up the infielders so they are approximately 60 feet from the machine in the infield.
Using the ATEC M3 Pitching Machine, shoot ground balls to the infielders, adjusting the wheel speed to simulate top spin off a bat. Once again, players should focus on “getting wide with butts down and hands out in front and underneath the ball”. A key is to get under the ball with eyes and fielding with glove hand eye.
Add a Catch Net in a spot of your choice to work on infielders receiving the ball and throwing to the net. Coaches should emphasize proper fundamentals in simple catch and throw drills. Confirm that the infielder has split feet for the weight transfer and always follows through on throws.
When you’ve worked on the fundamentals, simulate game scenarios by adjusting the speed of the wheels and pivoting the machine for different angles, working on any weaknesses not addressed by the straight forward work on fundamentals.
The accuracy of the ATEC M3 Pitching Machine in drills also allows you to practice in different areas and surfaces without worrying about a mishit. Players will also be more confident with where the ball is going and with what velocity.
This drill is efficient, easy to set up and effective at training infielders. If you have any additional questions on this or any other infield drill, as well as the ATEC M3 Baseball Pitching Machine, please feel free to contact one of our baseball experts at 800-297-0747.
- Matt Kiley