Catching a baseball can be difficult, especially when you’re just getting started with baseball. But players at all levels have some type of fear when catching a baseball. The good news is that the fear of catching a baseball is something many players have experienced and have successfully overcome. It may not be easy, but with time and practice, the days of being afraid of the baseball will be a thing of the past. So, how do you not be afraid of catching a baseball?
The tips below are useful tips regarding how to not be afraid of catching a baseball. Towards the end of this article, we’ll also cover how to not be afraid of fielding a ground ball and catching a fly ball.
1) Understand Fear is Natural
At one point or another, all baseball players have had the fear of catching a baseball. So whether you’re new to baseball or have played for a few years, realize that being afraid of the ball is somewhat natural. And being afraid of catching a baseball is natural for a good reason – getting hit by a baseball hurts.
When you think about it, potentially being hit – whether it’s by another player or by a ball – is something that is true of all sports. So remember to focus on what’s important, which is focusing on having fun and, of course, doing your best to win. With time and practice, you’ll gain confidence with your glove.
So the first step towards overcoming the fear of catching a baseball is to understand that it’s natural to be afraid of catching a baseball. Once you recognize the fear, you can come up with a plan to change your mindset.
2) Complete Easy Drills To Help Ease the Fear
When it comes to catching a baseball, the opposite thing of fear is confidence. Adults and coaches can help players build confidence by practicing some drills with tennis balls or a Nerf-type ball. By practicing this way, players can practice catching line drives and fly balls without the fear of being hit by a baseball.
Practicing with a lighter ball also allows coaches to challenge the fielder as the drill progresses. After several drills, players will turn up at real practice with improved fielding confidence.
Additionally, with very young players, it might be best to start fielding practice by rolling the balls as opposed to hitting practice ground balls with a bat. The reason for this is that batted balls travel much faster and can be a little intimidating.
3) Take it Slow
When players are afraid of being hit by a baseball, playing catch with someone that throws the ball much harder can aggravate the issue. The same goes with fielding hard ground balls using a regular baseball.
Coaches have to take kids step by step in their path to fielding confidence. Preferably, coaches have to start practices using safety balls as a precaution. If the kid does get hit by the ball, it won’t hurt as much as the coach will be able to help point out where the player’s fielding mechanics need some fine-tuning. Additionally, drills may be easy at the beginning and increase with difficulty over time.
Following this process ensures players develop better glove skills while improving confidence.
4) Focus on Gradually Getting Better
Whether you are a young player seeking advice or a coach looking to help some players, focus on overcoming the fear of the ball doesn’t happen in one day. Every practice should aim to improve the player’s fielding skills, which will build confidence in the process.
Correct footwork in the field is fundamental for both the infield and the outfield. The more a player can improve their fielding fundamentals, the more confidence they will gain. This increased confidence will lead to the fear of catching a baseball becoming less and less.
Finally, players need to have the right mentality. They must step onto the field thinking they have total control over the ball and the play. Players should strive to feel comfortable fielding hard line drive balls, high fly balls, and unexpected hops.
How to Not Be Afraid When Fielding a Ground Ball
Fielding ground balls can be an arduous task at a young age for two reasons: lack of confidence with the glove and poor fielding mechanics. Luckily, fixing the latter significantly improves the former. Usually, when fielders get hit by a ground ball it’s because they either pulled their head up or they performed a sidestep in an attempt to avoid getting in front of the ball.
In order to field ground ball more confidently, there are several drills that young players and kids may practice with a coach. The end goal is that players learn to perform proper fielding techniques and build fielding confidence in the process.
First, we have the goalie drill. The coach will be 15 feet away bouncing tennis balls off the ground to the right and left sides of the player. Then, players should quickly run to each ball, but instead of catching it, they knock the ball forward with their chest.
Also, there is the stationary ready position drill. Here, coaches have to roll ground balls successively, speeding up the exercise as much as possible. Meanwhile, players must remain the entire time in fielding position and field every ball by placing the throwing hand over the top of their open glove (this is known as the alligator mouth position).
Once the players have the ball, they must get the ball close to their chest, dump the ball to the side and get back to the ready position.
How to Not Be Afraid When Catching a Fly Ball
Mastering how to catch a fly ball is one of the biggest problems younger players face. It can be complicated for them to overcome the thought of being hit by a baseball falling out of the sky at great speed. As a result, kids miss fly balls because they try to catch them without getting under the ball.
The best drill to build confidence when catching fly balls is to flip a safety ball underhand into the air. Meanwhile, the player must focus on getting and staying underneath the ball, catch it up high above the head, and maintain the ball there for a couple of seconds.
As the kid gets better in this drill, the coach can throw the ball harder into the air or even bat fly balls if it feels safe. The key is to safely practice fly balls and build up those catching skills with time.
Does Getting Hit With a Baseball Hurt?
If you’ve ever seen someone get hit with a baseball, you might be wondering if getting hit with a baseball hurts.
In general, getting hit with a baseball hurts. Players will initially feel a sting directly on the spot where they were hit with the baseball. This sting lasts for a few seconds and is then followed by soreness. The soreness can last for a few days depending on how hard the ball hits the player.
Even though getting with a baseball can hurt, it shouldn’t prevent players from getting out there and having fun. Getting hit is a natural part of all sports. The good news is that getting hit with a baseball does not happen that often so players shouldn’t be expecting a baseball to hit them in every game.