How to Practice Fielding Ground Balls Alone

Becoming a good defensive infielder requires hard work and dedication, but most importantly, it requires practice--and lots of it. The best way to practice is to field live ground balls on a baseball diamond. But having someone to hit you grounders is not always an option. Below are a few options for working on your infield defense in your own time without a coach, parent or teammate hitting you hundreds of ground balls.

Find a good location. Tennis courts with a large practice wall and school playgrounds are two good places to practice. If neither of these locations are available, you can also use a garage door or the side of a building, but make sure there are no windows or cars around and that you get permission to use these areas.

Choose the right ball to practice with. If you have beginner or intermediate skill levels, you should probably use a tennis ball to practice, but if you have advanced skill levels, a racquetball will give you more of a challenge. You can also use bouncier balls for a tougher challenge. A typical baseball is not a good choice, as it will thump off the wall and not provide much of a challenge for even beginner fielders.

Stand between 4 and 7 feet away from the wall. The closer you are to the wall. the faster the ball will come off and the quicker your reaction will need to be. Simply throw the ball off the wall, field it and throw it again. If you want to practice quick ground balls, throw the ball lower on the wall. For line drives, aim higher on the wall and throw the ball harder. For the best practice, throw the ball off the wall at different speeds while also varying the height and angle of the throw.

Tips

If you get bored with just the basic fielding, turn it into a game. Every ball you throw off the wall is in play--if you field it properly, it's an out; if you don't, a runner is on base. Advancing the runners and keeping score is a good way to monitor your progress. Be sure to challenge yourself by using the angles of the wall. Stand on the far right and throw the ball hard off the left side of the wall, then range to field it.

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