Ok, your kid doesn’t know how to catch a ball. That’s fine because you’re in the right place to learn. Let me show you some of the basics so they can actually catch a ball. It’s hard to do a throwing program with a partner if your partner can’t catch a ball, so learning the fundamentals of catching the ball are an essential part of the development process that should start at a young age.
Tennis Ball Drill – 2 Hands Catch
Basic, but a great place to start with the little ones. Make sure they focus and track every ball with their eyes.
Tennis Ball Drill – 1 Hand Catch
This will be much harder for most kids, especially since they have smaller hands. Stick with it and make sure they track the ball all the way in.
Bouncing Ball – 2 Hands Catch
Getting them to track the ball from the ground up will help their hand eye coordination and it will also get them to learn to read the ball down to up. As they get better at catching, this should be pretty easy for them.
Bouncing Ball – 1 Hand Catch
This is harder, but something they will pick up with more practice.
Learn How to Play Catch – 3 Finger Catch
For the players just learning how to play catch, this is a great drill to start. For many of them, it will be difficult, but with some practice, they should be able to do this. With this drill, you’re just using a tennis ball and tossing the ball gently to the player trying to catch the ball. The goal is to catch the ball with your index finger, middle finger and thumb and we want to try to get our thumb underneath the ball. This will help us learn to catch the ball in the pocket of the glove.
Play Catch Drill – 3 Fingers & a Tennis Racquet
For the more advanced drill, we are going to hit the tennis balls with a tennis racquet. I have done this with my 6 year old son, so once they master the basic drill, you can go to this advanced drill. Just be smart about how hard you’re hitting this ball at them. The goal is to get them better, not get them hurt. If you do this with the younger kids, they should have already mastered the basic drill above and you shouldn’t be hitting the ball super hard.
Learn How the Glove Works
I like to do a basic drill and I describe the opening of the baseball glove like a pac man mouth trying to eat a pellet. Imagine the glove is a clock and we will take you around the clock to teach you how the glove should be open to the ball for each spot on the clock.
Catch it High, Catch it Low
Partner up and toss a ball gently up in the air for a high one, then a low one. Try to make sure you are not making them move their feet on this. They are learning how the glove works. We will focus on the feet later. Throw one up, catch it high, throw one low, turn the glove over and catch it low. Repeat.
Catch it Right, Catch it Left
Partner up and toss a ball gently to their right and then to their left. Try to make sure you are not making them move their feet on this. They are learning how the glove works. We will focus on the feet later. Throw one to the right, get them to beat the ball to the spot, then throw one to their left. Repeat.