Catching a fly ball is one of the most difficult skills for a young player to learn. This is mainly because of a child's underdeveloped hand-eye coordination and their fear of being hit on the head by a ball falling out of the sky.
While all players will have to catch fly balls from time to time, it is a skill that is mainly performed by outfielders. However, catching a fly ball is a skill every player needs to learn.
Try to get your players to think of fly balls as thrown balls that just go a little too high. This won't guarantee that all fly balls will be caught, but it will help your players get over the mental block of catching a fly ball.
Work with all of your players on the following fly-ball basics:
- Line your throwing side up with the ball.
- Get your glove up in-line with the ball with your fingers pointing to the sky.
- Elbows are bent and relaxed (do not extend arms straight to catch ball).
- Catch the ball in front of your head off the throwing side of the body.
- Catch the ball with one hand (glove), covering the ball in your glove with your bare hand.
- Position glove close to top of head on throwing shoulder.
- When catching a ball in the sun, try to adjust angle to play ball out of the sun. Use either the glove or the throwing hand to shield the sun while tracking the ball.
Coaching Tip: Start young kids with very soft and light balls to help eliminate their fear of the ball. For example, use a volleyball to teach catching with two hands with palms facing away from body and fingers up.Softball league or event to take your game to the next level.