Thursday, January 6, 2011

Diving For the Baseball

Anyone that has played baseball has had an opportunity to dive for a ball, but I’ve been around some players who were afraid to dive or did not know how to properly dive. 

If you have not come across it yet, I believe that being a good teammate is essential in baseball. Diving for balls that are hit in your direction is a great way to show your teammates that you will do whatever it takes to win.  Diving is something that gets easier the more you do it. It will become an instinct, which is something that you do without thinking. 

Like any of the other mechanics I talk about, I believe that you can learn and practice the proper fundamentals. This will help you execute the dive in the game, and not have to think about if you are doing it correctly.

It doesn’t matter what hand your glove is on, or in which direction you dive. The biggest thing to remember is diving for a ball is different than sliding into a base. 

When you slide into a base, the sliding slows you down. At some point in your dive, you need to be off the ground. But at the same time, realize that you are not trying to dive three feet off the ground. Getting far off the ground can lead to injuries when you come back down. You want to try to stay as close to the ground as possible without sliding. 

Other than that, there is no magic formula. The biggest thing you need is practice. You need to practice getting off the ground and practice judging the ball.

Every time you dive, you should not have your glove and arm fully extended. You have to judge the ball to see if you need to dive and how far you need to dive, and adjust your glove to the ball. You must keep your eye on the ball and watch it into the glove the entire way, just as if you are catching any other ball. 

If you catch the ball, the hardest part is over, but the play isn’t. If runners are on base, it is important that you get up as quickly as possible.

If you are playing the infield and you dive and catch a ground ball, you still need to get up and try to throw the runner out. 

If you are in the outfield and make a diving grab with runners on base, you should get up as quickly as possible for two reasons. If the runner knows you made the catch, he may try to tag up and advance. If the runner does not think you caught the ball and you did, he may have strayed off the base and you will be able to get him out. 

Finally, if you dive for a ball and did not catch it, try to find it as soon as possible. Get up and retrieve it and try to make a play.

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