Thursday, January 7, 2010
Baseball Fundamentals - Throwing & Catching
By Brian Schofield
Throwing a Baseball
It sounds so simple yet so many players do this incorrectly at a young age. In my opinion, nothing hampers a young player's love for the game more than if he can't throw the ball correctly. Fundamentally it is a very simple concept, but must be practiced correctly to be mastered. I have been blessed with having 4 girls as my children. They don't quite love baseball like I do but one thing I've tried to really teach them is how to correctly throw and catch a baseball. The first thing I tell them is that they aren't going to hurt me. To demonstrate I start with a softer ball like a wiffle ball or a tennis ball because the theory is how they throw and catch, not what they throw and catch. I want the confidence to be built up, not crushed because a hard ball smashed them in the mouth. Stand a fair distance apart, maybe 15-20 feet and have both players stand facing each other. When it is your turn to throw the ball, make absolutely sure of a couple points.
One, always step with your lead foot and aim it at the person you are throwing. Your front foot should point directly to your target. When practicing this for the first time it is ok to exaggerate the step. Second, make sure the ball is released behind or near the ear of the player throwing the ball. Young players will tend to short arm the throw by holding it too long. When they do this you will notice right away because the throw will have no life on it. A short arm throw eliminates the shoulder from being used and that completely decreases velocity on the ball. I have the players say step, plant and throw until they form a comfortable rhythm. My father was an incredible baseball coach growing up and I believe the difference was he took the time to teach us the simple concepts like throwing and catching a ball which is really what the game is all about, isn't it?
Catching a Baseball
Young players need to be shown the correct way to catch a ball as well. Don't get me wrong, some players will know from day 1 how to do both these things while others won't. Some may show all the ability but haven't been taught the correct fundamental behind it. Young players tend to do two things incorrectly when catching a baseball. One, they box it. I call it boxing the ball when everything thrown to them is met by a boxing motion with the glove always going in a downward motion no matter how low the throw is. Instead of just turning the glove over with the palm up, players will do the opposite and box it no matter where it is. Second, the opposite occurs and they try to catch everything with the palm up. I've seen more kids clocked in the head because of this than you could imagine. This is mastered only through correct repetition and practice. I encourage parents to spend 10 minutes outside showing kids how to correctly throw and catch. If it is done you will avoid the kids being made fun of or teased and they'll stick with it. I'm glad I did and I'm glad that my father took the time to play catch with me.
Brian Schofield is the Sr. writer for BigLeagueSkills.com. Check out their site for more tips on baseball fundamentals
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_Schofield
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