Welcome to Drill of the Week, a series on ACTIVEkids.com that explains individual and team drills for parents and coaches to help kids improve at the sports they love.
This week's drill is Inferno, a baseball catching exercise brought to you by TheDrillbook.com.
"Inferno" is a one-on-one drill designed to help soften the catcher's hand. This drill can be helpful when catchers start to get a little stiff receiving the ball or when they start jabbing at pitches. This drill helps catchers receive the ball closer to their bodies, where they can really focus on seeing the ball into their glove.
The catcher will get into his stance while giving a good, low target with his glove. The coach is about 20 inches in front with a bucket of tennis balls. The coach will rapid fire 7-10 tennis balls to the catcher. The catcher will catch each ball and immediately drop it in preparation of the next ball. It's important for the coach to keep a nice rhythm. The flips should not be too firm as the goal is not to handcuff the catcher, but allow him to receive the ball as "softly" as possible.
Key Teaching Points
Stance: The feet should be a little wider than shoulders, the weight is on the balls of the feet, and the glove should be at the bottom of the strike zone.
More: Drill of the Week: Baseball Fielding Drill for Kids
Soft Hands: By catching the ball closer to the body, the hands are naturally "softer". When a c
atcher is struggling to receive the ball or if he is extending his arm too far to catch the ball, he should be instructed to catch the ball closer to his body. Another way to keep the hand "soft" is to give the target wi
th the thumb at the 3 o'clock position an
d move to the 2 o'clock position as the pitch is delivered. The catching hand tends to become "hard" if the thumb is closer to the 6 o'clock position when giving the target
Note: Make sure the catcher wears his mask during this drill for protection.. This 6 o'clock position also puts the thumb at risk of injury.
For a visual demonstration of the Inferno drill, watch the video below or click here.