The Benefits of Barehand Tennis Ball Drills
The Benefits of Barehand Tennis Ball Drills in Baseball / Softball
This catcher drill can be done with either a coach or a teammate. All you’ll need is a bucket of tennis balls and your catcher’s equipment (everything but your mitt) to simulate in-game.
Start out in your squatting position and have your partner quickly toss you the tennis balls one-by-one from about 12 feet away. The key here is to receive the balls as smoothly as possible, and catch them between your thumb and index fingers.
Do this drill until you run out of balls, take a minute or two rest, and gear up again for another 2-3 rounds.
In an age where pop time and arm strength draws attention, one of the most overlooked skills when it comes to catching is the ability to receive the ball cleanly. This where the tennis ball bare hand drill comes into play.
One purpose of this drill is to increase hand-eye coordination for catchers. Since tennis balls are smaller and lighter than a baseball, catchers have to make the proper adjustments to catch it cleanly bare handed. Another purpose is that it forces a soft hand when receiving the ball, and encourages proper glove action.
The tennis ball bare hand drill will root out common bad habits for younger catchers. Forcing a soft hand is great for catchers looking to take their skills to the next level -- especially when pitchers start throwing heat. Catchers should look to receive (and stop) the ball before it gets deep in their mitt. This mitigates the odd chance of the ball popping out.
Overall, utilizing soft hands leads to better ball transfer when throwing out runners. In a game where every millisecond counts, this could be the difference between an out or a stolen base.
Written by: Devin Pickell