Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tips from the Pros

RT Staff Note...The following is from Baseball

Tips from the Pros -

First Base Fielding Tips JT Snow: First Base Tips

J.T. earned International League MVP and Rookie of the year honors in Triple-A. He has won 6 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, and is only the forth player in baseball history to win multiple Gold Glove awards in both the American and National leagues.

"The best way to improve your defense is persistent practice and repetition. My philosophy on defense is practice, practice, practice. There really is no substitute for hard work and practice. Typically, I keep the following in mind when working on my defensive":

* There is no substitute for hard work and practice.
* Whenever you get a spare minute in practice, work on ground ball drills.
* Try to have someone throw balls to you in the dirt.
* When scooping balls out of the dirt, try to keep your glove down.
* If you see the ball bounce, try to raise your glove with the ball and make sure to give with, or cushion, the ball.
* Another thing a first baseman should always do is expect a bad throw from your infielders. It won't always happen, but when it does, you'll be ready for it.

Third Base Fielding Tips Robin Ventura: Third Base Tips

Ventura was the first major leaguer to hit grand slams in both games of a doubleheader. He is a six-time Gold Glove Award Winner. In 1987, he was the College Player of the Year. The following year, he won the Golden Spikes Award (nation's best amateur player), and was a member of the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning team.

"Properly positioning yourself is one of the most important aspects to your fielding game."

* Position yourself as far back as you feel comfortable, but take into consideration how fast the batter runs to first.
* If the batter has a reputation of bunting, try to get in close, and be ready for it.
* When in a double play situation and a ground ball is hit toward the third base side, try to wait for the ball to get close enough to you and then start your movement towards second base. Catch it and throw it all in one movement.
* If a runner on second is threatening to steal third, make sure that you keep an eye on him. If he attempts to steal third, wait as long as you can to see if the batter at home plate hits the ball. But try to be close enough to third to get to the base by the time the catcher throws it. You might want to cheat a little bit to third base to play it safe.
* If a runner is rounding third base and heading home, and a ball is hit to the outfield, try to position yourself about 15 feet in from the grass. Make sure the runner touches third base, and also be on your toes for the ball coming in.

Throwing Tips Brooks Robinson: How to Straighten Your Throws

Legendary third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, Brooks Robinson is tied for the MLB record with 16 Gold Glove awards. He holds 10 career fielding records for third basemen, and led American League third basemen in fielding percentage 11 times.

"Whether throwing to a base, or simply playing catch, the best thing to do is step toward your target. I had an accurate arm, but my arm got stronger just by throwing a lot."

* The best thing to do is to step towards the base you are throwing to.
* Mix in some long tosses to make your arm stronger.
* To straighten out your throw, get on top of the ball.
* If you throw 3/4 over the top, do not let your arm drop to the side.
* Always try to hold the ball across the seam.

How to Break in a Baseball Glove Roberto Alomar: Conditioning Your Glove

Finding a glove that best suits your needs is mostly based on how it feels to you, according to the Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar. "My gloves usually last two to three years," he said. "I always have a glove that I only use in games, and one that I use during batting practice that I break in to eventually use in games. The glove I'm using now is two years old. I started using it in spring training two years ago, and I've kept it since then."

* I like my glove to be very flexible so I like soft leather.
* I do not like a glove with a deep pocket because when you are turning a double play, the ball can get lost in a deep pocket. I like a relatively flat, shallow glove, which allows you to find the ball quickly.
* Tying any of the laces that stick out from a glove makes it tighter and more rigid. Since I like my glove to be flexible, I just let the laces dangle. When I get the glove new, all the laces are tied up in knots but they eventually work themselves loose and then I just let them stay that way.
* My glove is pretty small, even for a middle infielder. Second basemen usually have the smallest gloves of all the fielders, and in most cases, shortstops will have slightly bigger gloves than second basemen.
* All of the guys in the clubhouse know that I also don't like anyone putting their hand in my glove. It's built for my hand, and if someone else puts their hand in it to try it on, I can usually tell, because it will feel looser on my hand when I put it back on.
* It's hard to say exactly what makes a good baseball glove, but mostly it has to feel right to you.
* In cold weather, sometimes I will spray some stick-um on the inside of my glove to give my hand a better grip on the inside of the glove. I spray it on the outside of the thumb so I can rub my throwing hand on it for a better grip on the ball for throws.

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