As the pitcher goes into his windup, each infielder should get into what is called the ready position. The ready position involves the following:
When fielding groundballs in the infield, go to the ball - don’t wait for it to come to you (unless it is a hard line drive). Just prior to arriving to the ball, you’ll want to “breakdown” which means get into the ideal fielding position:
Once you gather the ball up, you will bring both your glove and throwing hand to your chest area and begin to align your throw by turning your front shoulder and hip to the direction to which you will be throwing. Swing your throwing arm straight back and point ball away from target with fingers on top of ball. The throw should come over the top and almost complete a full circle. Try to grip the ball with a four seam grip, as it will go straighter. Follow up your throw with your body towards the target, to ensure accuracy and to preserve the health of your arm and shoulder.
When fielding pop-ups, it is important to remember which positions have priority over other positions. When two or more positions could potentially field the popup and both positions call it, the priorities are as follows:
The ready position for the outfield is similar to the infield but only about half the crouch and bend. Weight should also be on the balls of your feet. You should be ready to “take off” at the crack of the bat. Always remember the following:
On high pop-fly’s, you’ll want to circle the ball so that you are facing towards the infield, so that you can make the quick throw into the infield. Proper outfield play involves a lot of running. On almost any ball hit, every outfielder should be moving somewhere, either to the ball, backing up another outfielder, backing up an infielder who is fielding the ball, or backing up an infielder who may have the ball thrown to him on that particular play. Again, you must always be aware of the situation, outs, runners, score, what to do with the ball if it is hit to you. Know before the ball is hit, so that you don’t have to think about it as the ball is approaching you.
If the batter is using a good balanced swing and follow-through, he should be able to get out of the box in a smooth, quick manner.
If on your quick peek you see the ball is through the infield, or if you hit a fly ball, you’ll want to take what is called a banana curve approach to first.
Upon getting to first, you will quickly want to pick-up your third base coach to see if he is giving you any signs. You will want to listen to your first base coach, and watch your third base coach, while still on the bag. Do not take your lead and then look to the third base coach, or you’ll get picked off. Upon getting the steal sign, and the pitcher on the rubber, consider the following:
Improper sliding can result in injury to the young ball player. It is important to not slide too late (you may jam a leg/ankle) or too early (you may not reach the bag). Most slides, and probably the safest slides, are the bent leg or figure 4 slides.