Baseball Outfielder Tips: How to Handle a Ground Ball
Understanding the runner on base is critical in choosing which technique to use fielding a ground ball hit to the outfield.
As an outfielder, you need to understand that there are different ways to field ground balls depending on whether the runner can advance to the next base.
WHEN THE BASERUNNER CANNOT ADVANCE
The first type of ground ball is when you know that the base runner cannot advance. This is generally a ground ball that is hit directly at you, making it tough for runners to take an extra base. In this situation, put high priority on keeping the ball in front of you. Both hands should be out in front of your body with your feet, hips and shoulders square to the ball. The idea here is to make sure the ball stays in front of you, and if the ball takes a bad hop, you have both hands out ready to react. This fielding position is very similar to one used by an infielder on a routine ground ball.
WHEN THE BASERUNNER CAN ADVANCE
The other type of groundball that you would field is when you know a base runner can advance to the next base. You need to be more aggressive and charge the ball, fielding it on the glove side of your body with just your glove hand. Track the ball with your eyes all the way into your glove and maintain momentum as you position your body to throw directly to your target.
As an outfielder, your job is to get to the ball and deliver it to the infield as quickly as possible. Once you have the ground ball in your glove, you’ll want to finish the play and get an out. Learn how to properly throw from the outfield here.