Infielders play an essential role in a baseball team. Consisting of the shortstop, first baseman, second baseman, and third baseman, infielders defend the four bases to keep the opponents from running a score. To achieve this goal, infielders perform different moves such as fielding bunts and catching fly balls. Infielders must also get an offensive player out by throwing the ball to the right base. That being said, infielders must learn baseball techniques to help their team win.
The following are the rules and techniques that every infielder should know:
1. Stay focused on the game and be aware of what is going on.
Know exactly what you want to do with the ball even before it is pitched. An infielder must aim to prevent the opponents from scoring by getting the offensive player on third out if the bases are loaded. On the other hand, if the bases are empty, the infielder must be able to get the ball back to the first place as fast as he can or catch it on the fly.
2. Know your opponents.
To determine how long you can get the ball to the right base, consider the running speed of the runners and the batter. But never panic—it is still important that you stay cool and relaxed during the game.
3. Maintain an ideal body position.
To gain the best control over the ball, you need to field the ball from your body’s middle level, just above your glove side.
4. Use the whole surface of your glove.
Keep it open at all times so that you won’t miss a catch. Keep your eye on the ball, too.
5. Communicate with your teammates efficiently.
This rule is important for the shortstop and the second baseman, as they need to decide who will take a throw and who will cover second for a steal. Infielders should also learn the signs or hand gestures of the catcher to know the next pitch that will be thrown and the direction that ball will take.
6. Focus on your target, which is the ball.
Don’t just watch the ball fly—you have to be active and alert all the time during the game. Throw the ball cross seam to prevent the ball from sinking, tailing, or going to the opponent player you are throwing to.
7. Learn proper hand and footwork.
When you crow hop or throw the ball, use your feet to your advantage. If the ball is going to hit the ground, don’t forget to run to it. Use your two hands to catch a bouncing ball. You can use just one hand if the ball is rolling slowly.
8. Rehearse your double plays.
This will train you to use your hands and feet properly while playing baseball. Focus on moving the ball from the glove to your throwing hand. You also need to practice chasing fly balls in every direction.
Infielders are crucial in any baseball team. If you are going to be one, it helps that you learn baseball techniques for infielders so that you can contribute to your team’s success.
To be able to learn baseball and be adept at it, you must be prepared to adapt all the sport’s techniques. This is in line with achieving the twin goals of the game – hitting the most number of runs, and minimizing or eliminating the outs.
One of these is the art of bunting. Essentially, it is still part in the art of hitting. However, techniques used in the field are somehow different.
Primarily, bunting is used for advancing a runner or getting the batter on base. However, most youngsters who are introduced to this concept think more on getting on base more than anything else.
This frame of mind, however, totally reverses the intent of the sacrifice.
To sacrifice, the batter will squarely face the pitcher. For our demonstration, imagine that the hitter is right-handed.
As the pitcher goes on the rubber, the batter takes his normal position. Just as the pitcher begins his throwing stance, the batter then turns left, steps back, and moves out with the left foot, moving the right foot up to the spot vacated by the left.
In two quick steps, the feet will be parallel with the toes actually pointing at the pitcher. The right foot should be even with the plate and already inside the batter’s box.
For the moment, forget that you are going to use a baseball bat at all. Imagine instead you are going to catch the pitched ball.
Straighten right up a bit if you think the ball is high. If it looks low, squat slightly. Get your arms extended towards the pitcher with your hands.
This is to enable you to follow the flight of the ball. Use the same principle when using a bat and hitting into the baseball field.
If you are right-handed, make a fist with the right hand with the little finger pointing the ground. Extend the index finger and raise the thumb, then crook the index finger like you would pull a gun’s trigger.
Place the bat between thumb and forefinger at a point some two to four inches above the label and squeeze. The V made by the thumb and forefinger is the cushion for the shock of the ball’s impact.
Loosely wrap your left hand on the bat under the knob, palm down, extending the arm forward. Hold the bat level with the ground and “catch” the ball with the bigger end, which should be extended into the strike zone.
Directing the ball
To place the ball toward the first base, keep the right hand rigid while pushing the left hand forward.
Bunting it to third base, keep the right ball like you had a glove on. Do not poke at it. (Do the opposite movements when you are a left-hander.)
Bunting the strike
If in the act of moving into a bunting position and the pitch looks like a ball, immediately yank the heavy end of the bat back. This helps convince an uncertain umpire it is a strike, helps the runner, and avoids a foul tip.
Always expect a sign for a sacrifice bunt when a runner is on first, first and second, with none out, and with probably a close score. To learn baseball, it is imperative to learn how to master the art of bunting.