Friday, July 13, 2018

Why Does She Miss The Ball So Often?

Is she actually missing the ball or is it the glove?  If the ball is going "in" the glove and then popping out then not "finding" the pocket or the webbing of the glove most likely.  If the ball is completely missing the glove or is hitting the sides of the glove, then that is more of a problem.  Here are some things to consider for your daughter.

The Glove is too Stiff or the Hands are too Small or too weak!

This happens a lot.  In fact, I think it happens to most of the younger and/or more inexperienced players.  There are a few ways to determine if this could be the problem.  

One is, just watch her and watch where the ball goes when she attempts to catch the ball.  Is it going "in" the mitt (either the pocket or webbing) and then comes back out?  

Another trick is to put the ball in her glove and then have her turn her glove upside down where the opening of the glove is toward the ground.  Have her shake the glove rigorously.  If the ball falls out then she will have a difficult time holding on the ball from a throw or a hit ball.

If this is the case, she is actually "catching" the ball but she just isn't able to hold on to it.

Solving this problem...

Break in the Glove.  New gloves come very stiff and they need to be broken in even for the most mature fielder.  Here is a Youtube video about how to break in your glove.  As you progress as a player you will develop a certain way you like your glove but this is a good starting point.

Breaking the glove in will take a while but it is very important for the fielder to ensure they have the best possible opportunity to catch the ball and hold on to it.

Glove Type and Size.  I debate on the glove size for younger players.  A small glove has a very difficult time holding on the ball, especially the 12" ball but is easer to control.  A larger glove is harder to control and is harder to close but has a larger pocket/webbing for the ball to enter.

Honestly, I would suggest an inexpensive glove that is more of a medium-sized glove.  Not small or large.  The reason I like an inexpensive glove is that it will be more flexible as the expensive gloves take a lot of work to break in.  

Two Hands!

When a Diamond Player gets to the HS level and beyond, quite honestly the two hand method is not near as important to help the fielder catch the ball.  The glove is designed to be effective with one hand.  I need to make sure I am clear about this statement.  I believe strongly in using the two hand approach for most situations but it is even more important for the young fielder as it does help her hold on to the ball.  It does not help her catch the ball.  Again, it just helps her hold on to it after she catches it.

see a lot of young fielders put their hands "behind" the glove or behind the webbing.  This actually isn't doing much to assist the fielder holding on to the ball.  You want to use the second hand to close the glove around the ball.  This video shows this pretty well.  (Video Disclaimer:  I don't like that he ran to the ball with his hand touching the glove.  You need to learn to run to the ball and THEN, as you get ready to catch the ball, put the throwing hand on the side of the glove.)  Other than that, this is a pretty good video describing how to use two hands.

The bottom catch...a lot.  The amazing thing about throwing and catching is that the more you do it the better you get.  You don't have to be really tall or really fast or really athletic.  Just do it a lot.  This will improve your arm, improve your ability to catch and it will break in your glove.  I just love win-win-wins!

This blog is written by Holly Knight.  Holly owns National Fastpitch Academy, Lessons With Holly and National Softball Prospects which all are LLC under the umbrella of the National Diamond Academy that she also owns.

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