Baseball Short Hops
The short hops drill is another two-player exercise that should be done on either baseball sand or a surface that closely mimics how a ball travels on the dirt.
Players should be about 20-30 feet apart from each other and get down in an athletic stance. From there, players will short hop or “one hop” the ball about a foot or two in front of their teammate.
Do this drill back and forth with just one ball. This is a low-stress type of exercise, and it can be done however many times the players choose. The more practice, the better.
Balls hit in the dirt are bound to take strange hops every once in a while, especially if you don’t play a field that’s regularly upkept by a grounds crew. The short hops drill is a way to train the lightning-fast reflexes required to make these difficult plays.
But more fundamentally, training for short hops is one of the best drills a fielder can implement in their day-to-day workouts. First basemen should also look to this drill to perfect their “scooping” abilities when it comes to bang-bang type of plays.
To get the most out of the short hops drill, players should try to simulate game speed when throwing the ball. This means hard liners, no lollipops. Train between the legs, forehand, and backhand fielding skills. Some players utilize one fielding position over another, so working on the sides that require some practice can create a more well-rounded fielder.
Short hops drill also helps with quickly transferring the ball from your glove to your hand. This is crucial when it comes to executing a double play with fast runners on base.
Written by: Devin Pickell