This is a big issue for me. Baseball players are told from day one to use two hands. Use two hands when catching a ball thrown to them, use two hands catching a pop up, and always use two hands catching ground balls.
I might lose 99% of people reading this next statement:
Stop teaching to use two hands on everything.
I understand why you tell a tee baller to use two hands on everything. Due to their size, strength, and quality of the gloves, they are just unable to fully squeeze the glove. They are literally catching the ball with their non-glove hand because if they don’t, half the time the ball pops out. Two handing everything will eventually hinder their performance.
Plays you should use two hands to catch the ball:
1. Routine groundballs where you body is set up to throw as you catch it
2. A pop fly the you are somewhat “camped” under (you still don’t have to use two hands)
3. A double play turn at second on perfect throws
4. On a special slow roller play where you need a quick release.
Plays you should use one hand to catch the ball:
1. Any sort of groundball that the player has to run to and/or charge
2. All routine backhands
3. All routine forehands
4. Any sort of pop fly that the player has to run to
5. All catchers (Yes, I have heard coaches say two hands when receiving the pitch…)
6. All first basemen catching a throw to first
7. Most short stop double play turns
8. EVERY single “chopper” groundball
9. Any sort of throw from another player
10. All line drives
11. All one-hop hard hit groundballs
I see youth coaches telling players to use two hands when they are on a full sprint trying to catch a fly ball. This is wrong. I see coaches tell infielders to use two hands as they charge a chopping groundball. This is also wrong. When the ball is not routine, the non-glove-hand just gets in the way and will cause a tremendous amount of errors. You catch by squeezing your glove anyways. You do not catch a ball just simply trapping it in the glove with your other hand.
Just look at catchers. They have one of the hardest gloves to close, yet they one hand everything. Why don’t they two hand catch the baseball? Please don’t say because their other hand might get hit. They one hand catch because they have quicker reactions with the glove to catch the ball. Using two hands would negatively affect reach, framing capabilities, and movement to the baseball. Yes, it would also leave them vulnerable to a foul ball off the non-glove-hand.
Here is a Google image search result for “catching a fly ball.”
You will see the players who look like they are running for the baseball using one hand. Some even using one hand “camped” under the fly ball. But, you will also see some two handed photos. Most of these are of professional players somewhat camped under the fly ball.
So, what do you teach? You teach both. You teach players when to use one hand to catch the baseball, and you teach them when to use two. Just understand that two handing everything is not how you should teach it.
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