A major defensive skill is catching. This includes catching a thrown ball, catching a grounder hit off a bat, and catching a fly ball.Initially, some players will be afraid of catching a baseball. That fear will make them flinch right before the ball reaches the glove. They'll end up dropping the ball instead of catching it, or, worse, the ball may hit them. By that time, they may be ready to quit.
Teaching players the correct catching technique is not easy. You must first over come their fear of getting hit by a hard ball. That's why it's so much better to start kids with safety balls that don't hurt. Players can miss the ball, even get conked on the head with it, and not wind up with a big bump and bruise. When your players have mastered catching the safety ball, you can introduce easy catching with a regulation baseball.
To catch a baseball, the player should position the glove according to the flight of the ball. If the ball is below the waist, the fingers and the palm of the glove hand should be pointed down with the mitt fully open. If the ball is chest high, the fingers and the palm of the glove should be pointing out, with the thumbs pointing to the sky. If the ball is above the chest, the fingers point toward the sky. In all catching attempts, a player should :
- keep eyes on the ball
- have both hands ready, with arms relaxed and extended towards the ball
- bend the elbows to absorb the force of the throw
- watch the ball into the glove and squeeze it.
- After the catch, the player should immediately grip the ball with the throwing hand in the correct overhand throwing technique.