This time of year is known for its resolutions. With those resolutions often comes new routines. Routines allow your resolution to become your new normal so they’re a consistent part of your life. The same can be said for your routines on the baseball field. As an infielder, having a hands routine and completing your routine daily will allow for improved consistency of your skills.
A good hands routine can be used as a warm up for the day’s fielding demands. If performed correctly, it should ingrain proper fielding postures, isolate specific fielding actions with the glove and feet, and engage the eyes with different hops.
Below is a hands routine I use with my players and checks all of the boxes above.
The routine is broken down into 3 fielding postures; kneeling, wide base, and the last 2 steps before fielding. The kneeling posture allows us to isolate our hands to focus on our different glove actions. The wide base posture starts to get our legs involved by getting us in a more traditional fielding position. The last 2 steps posture refers to the last 2 steps we take before fielding the ball. In this portion of our routine we introduce fielding with rhythm and playing thru the ball. Each ball fielded should be brought to center and finish in a strong throwing position.
Each fielding posture is performed in the routine, forehand, and backhand lane for 5 reps of each a rolling ball and a bouncing ball, except the last 2 steps posture in the video. It’s important to use the correct glove actions with the appropriate ground ball type. You can read about our hops and the appropriate glove actions here, here, here, and here. You can see in the video that I’m using a wall as a partner. If you have a person feeding they should try to give you at least 2 hops during the bouncing ball rounds. Using 2 hops will allow us to read the hops and time our fielding of the correct hop.
Routine-Knees wide, and backside off of heels. Chest should be out in front of knees.
Forehand-Same as above. Chest should be over glove side knee.
Backhand-Same as above. Chest should be over throw side knee.
Wide Base Posture
Feet should be wide so we can get as low as possible.
Last 2 Steps
Think right, left, field for us righties.
Be mindful of your posture before the rep. Don’t stand too tall before last 2 steps. Think of the air plane landing. We want a smooth landing. Begin each rep in an athletic position to prevent those crash landings into the fielding position. Once ball is fielded think of a smooth plane take off.
The entire routine should take one player maybe 5 minutes to complete, at most. Partners can feed each other on alternating reps and can be completed in not much more than 5 minutes. If the routine, forehand, and backhand lanes are performed in each fielding posture for 5 reps of a rolling ball and bouncing ball each the routine consists of 90 reps. If really pressed for time, each lane could be fed a mix of rolling and bouncing balls to cut down on time.
The hands routine is a time to get back to basics to feed good habits or iron out any poor habits that have crept into our game. Take pride in it and approach each rep with intent and conviction. It isn’t the sexiest drill but it can lead to great things.