Baseball Footwork for Fielding Balls

Footwork for Fielding

We’ve discussed the importance of perfect body position for fielding; staying low with glove out in front, back parallel to the ground, and, most important of all, having your feet in the proper position. If every hit came straight to you, then we’d be all set – discussion over!  But that is definitely not the case. You have to move and it is your feet that take you where you want to go and where you need to be.  So let’s take a closer look at footwork, its importance to an infielder and how to get into the correct position to be the most effective and consistent.

Why is Footwork important?

Footwork is what makes an infielder look very impressive! The player’s footwork is key to getting their body into the correct stance to field while allowing your glove arm to not only catch the ball, but to redirect the ball with power and momentum.  Remember that the ground is the source of power for an infielder’s throw.  When the player’s footwork is on point, their arm will look impressive as they harness all this power into the throw.

Ground balls are caught by how well your feet are positioned. Well positioned feet are quick feet! Footwork is everything when it comes to fielding ground balls, as it is the key to being quick and agile.  A player’s feet will make or break how good they are at fielding. Bad footwork will throw you off balance, lessening your speed in getting to the ball and reducing the strength of your throw.

Footwork and You

Whether you are fielding a routine, backhand, or forehand ground balls, the proper footwork is identical.  You always want to take small, quick steps as you gain ground on ground balls, taking hops away to get a good hop to field. Taking smalls steps keeps your body free to move in any direction and to set up your fielding position where needed. Conversely, taking larger steps commits you into a direction and makes it more difficult to adjust to the incoming ground ball. Keep in mind that taking small steps does not mean shuffling your feet. Shuffling feet are anchored to the ground and make fast responses difficult. You want your feet to be like springs, waiting to explode off the ground.  Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, with a glove!

Your footwork is also dependent on your throwing arm.  For right handed throwers, your very last two steps before you get to the ball should be a right then a left.  As you arrive to the ball, you would take a right step and then a left step so that your left foot lands a little bit ahead of your right foot.  Left handed throwers follow the same pattern but in reverse. This footwork puts your body, not only a good position to receive the ball, but to redirect it with power and follow through. Your footwork is the same for all your plays in the infield except for plays where you are on the run.

Consistent footwork leads to consistently catching the ball. Great infielders are the most consistent with their footwork.  Once you get the footwork down you will become a very good infielder. Now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of good footwork.

Steps for Fielding Footwork:

  1. As the ball is crossing home plate, creep towards home plate.
  2. React to the direction the ball is hit and start taking small steps towards the ball gaining, ground. Read the spin, speed, and height of the ball from the ground and adjust your approach as needed.
  3. Continue taking steps towards the ball until you are about 4 feet from the ball.
  4. Take your right step, then your left step (Left handed, take left, then right) when the ball is 2 feet away from your glove.
  5. From catch to throw your foot work puts you in the right position to throw. So from fielding to throwing your foot work will be right foot in front of left foot, stepping towards your target with you right foot and the left foot will follow.
  6. Again you do not want your footwork to stop in this process.

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