Short Hop, Up Hop, Baseball Drill


The next baseball drill, specific for infielders, that we will talk about is actually a series of drills that all basically do the same thing.  A huge problem with younger kids is getting the correct depth.  Depth is talked about extensively in the Correct Fielding Position post. These drills are designed to help with that problem.

Every program has short hop drills that they do almost everyday (or at least they should).  The drill we use for the short hop and the up hop though, includes a little different technique with the legs.  We find the best way to gain the depth that we want with the eyes and chest, is to spread the legs out to almost a splits position and do our short hops and up hops from there.

By spreading the feet this far apart it forces the chest down and the hands out.  It gives us the proper fielding position with the upper half of our body.  

You will not field a routine ground ball like this, it’s only for the purpose of the drill.
  We want the legs locked out and as far apart as possible.

This builds the leg strength we want for infielders to be able to get in the correct fielding position when we start to field routine ground balls.  You’re players are going to hate this drill at first because it’s tough on the legs. After awhile though, they will start to get used to it and you will see the positive depth results carry over into routine ground balls.

Another important point that I talk about in choosing the correct hop is that we always want the fielder to come through the short hop with the hands, while keeping the chest and eyes down.  Start with just the glove hand, then go to two hands. You can see it in the video below.


Short Hop

Checklists

  • Legs Spread Apart as Far as Possible
  • Chest and Eyes in Front of Feet
  • Hands in Front of Bill of Cap
  • Always Come Through the Short Hop With the Hands
  • Don’t Let the Chest and Eyes Come Up With the Hands
  • 5-10 Feet Away From Fielder
  • Firm Feed
  • Throw Hop Directly In Front of Fielders Glove
  • Always Feed Left Eye
  • Underhand Feed

Up Hop

Checklists

  • Legs Spread Apart as Far as Possible
  • Chest and Eyes in Front of Feet
  • Hands in Front of Bill of Cap
  • Always Give With the Hands for the Up Hop
  • Don’t Let the Chest and Eyes Come Up With the Hands
  • 5-10 Feet Away From Fielder
  • Firm Feed
  • Throw Hop a Foot or Two In Front of Fielders Glove So the Hop is Traveling Up When the Fielder is Receiving the Ball
  • Always Feed Left Eye
  • Underhand Feed

I would recommend doing this drill every single day.  Not only will it teach the fielder the correct hand motion for each hop, but it will dramatically increase the strength of the fielders legs and ensure that the fielder has the correct depth that we strive for.  This is a great drill for super young kids all the way up to college players.  You really only need to do it for five minutes a day to see dramatic results.

*As always, please feel free to comment with questions or general observations.  Let me know what’s working/not working for you and your players.

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Comments 4

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      Author
  1. Great tip: “Don’t Let the Chest and Eyes Come Up With the Hands”

    Question: What is the most popular two hand method? I see some using the “Alligator” where the wrists are together as the hinge while others keep the pinky fingers together as the hinge. Is one preferred at the higher levels? Why?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Paul –

      Good question, I don’t really like the alligator method for younger players four a few reasons. First – when the wrists are actually connected together, it seems like kids hands tend to get really stiff and they don’t have much give. Also, then tend to connect the wrists too early and travel awkwardly into the final approach. The last reason I don’t like it is because if the wrist are ACTUALLY connected, the top hand is often too late to prevent a bad hop from hitting them in the face, neck, or chest.

      I do like the hinge better because it teaches kids to be “on time” with the top hand which promotes a much cleaner transfer. Initially, players will try and catch it in the pocket and the top hand will be late. Make sure to reinforce the fact that the top hand needs to connect with the ball in the glove the instant after or directly as the ball hits the glove. If you’re having trouble with this get some paddle gloves like this one – http://www.sportsfanoutlet.com/macgregor-infield-training-glove.html?gclid=CKTC5aHmmsoCFYOAaQodKQEDkA

      Another method you can teach which is a hybrid between the alligator and hinge method is what we call “looking through the L” (the L being the shape between the thumb and index finger on the top hand). Unlike the alligator method the hands are disconnected about 6 inches to prevent getting stiff, but it still promotes coming over the top of the ball on time. Some other benefits of it is that it helps prevent the fingers from being parallel with the ground (jammed fingers) and it protects the face better than the hinge or alligator methods on a bad hop. Here’s an example of Jeter using this method – https://www.google.com/search?q=fielding+a+ground+ball&espv=2&biw=2021&bih=1014&tbm=isch&imgil=NXKpBLClt5uaSM%253A%253Bny4w9Sasmj8SSM%253Bhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.kchitter.com%25252F2014%25252F06%25252Falways-bad-poser%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=NXKpBLClt5uaSM%253A%252Cny4w9Sasmj8SSM%252C_&dpr=0.9&usg=___mXscvuXxIHe3KEkH_x2j73K-us%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjrl4PD55rKAhVCy2MKHXgvAPQQyjcILA&ei=C_uPVqvmEMKWjwP43oCgDw#imgrc=ARROYRNIyZCUrM%3A&usg=___mXscvuXxIHe3KEkH_x2j73K-us%3D

      Hope that helps!

      Scott

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