Tricky ground balls can frustrate even the best infielder. Here's a drill to teach your fielders proper groundball technique and drastically improve your squad's defense.
How the Vacuum Drill Works
Have infielders start about 30-40 ft from coach or partner. Infielder starts with glove open and finger tips on the ground.
Next the coach or partner rolls the ball to infielder. The glove stays in contact with the ground and open to the ball the entire time the ball is motion except for the last movement.
The last movement can be up, but never down. This gets them to work the old "stay down and work up" concept.
Defending the Big Bounces
Have infielder start at position with coach or partner hitting a fungo to fielder. You don't need to hit too hard but instead make the ball bounce a little (no big hoppers). The concept is the same as the above drill.
If the player fields the ball correctly, tell him so and build his confidence. If not, the fielder's hands go up then down, or player flips by showing the back of the glove and then flipping around.
If the glove leaves contact with the ground too early, then the player does a sprint to the outfield fence and back or does push-ups. Good push-ups.
Good luck employing this with your squad. We've found it very effective for improving our fielders' ground ball ability.
Blake Lyons is a youth athletic coach at Jones County High School in Georgia.