Essentials - Footwork

The next essential for an infielder is footwork. There are many elements that can be practiced to make sure good footwork is achieved. First, for a right-handed infielder, the player should be right-left-athletic stance in his pre-pitch movements or prep steps. Quality footwork in this phase will help all infielders be ready for any possible result of a play.

The second element of footwork is how a player fields the groundball appropriately. Whether fielding a ball right at him, moving to his forehand, moving to his backhand, rounding the ball and charging through the ball, players must have the proper footwork. Ideally, both feet should be planted before the fielding process occurs with the right foot being planted first. The right foot is staggered slightly in front of the left foot in this position. As the player fields the ball and prepares to throw, the player continues with this right-left rhythm through the throwing motion. The rhythm becomes right-left-field-right-left-throw.

Next, cutting a ball appropriately with momentum and proper footwork is a skill to develop. The infielder should make sure to move his feet to receive the ball laterally as his glove-side moves toward the target. Cutting the ball with momentum and on the correct side of the body are vital.
Finally, a drop step is an important concept within footwork. Infielders should be able to drop step both to the right and to the left. Using the drop step is important in ranging with proper angles. The first movement should be the foot closet to the ball and the infielder should work to get behind the ball. The tendency will be to drift but the movement is explosive.

Coaches should always be teaching footwork to infielders. This element is one that requires constant attention. Whether it is in an individual or team defense session, footwork should be on the forefront of the player’s mind. When footwork becomes a detail that slips through the cracks, the coach and player risks bad outcomes in big situations.