Jump to content

When did flyball fielding fundamentals disappear?


 Share

Recommended Posts

Last night we all saw Mike Trout drop a flyball that can partially be attributed to taking his eye off the ball as he was trying to catch it one-handed. We now see one-handed catches made on almost every flyball. Puig comes to mind with that rifle arm. This oldtimer learned the two-handed catch was fundamentally the proper way, enhancing certainty of the catch and shortening the exchange and release time of the throw. Was that teaching wrong? When did coaching allow the one-handed catch to become the acceptable norm? Help me to understand, please.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hand catching has evolved over the last couple decades as gloves have improved. The two hand catch mantra, basically stems back to the days when gloves weren’t great and you HAD to use two hands. Using two hands really doesn’t help all that much in terms of getting the ball into throwing position. Think about catchers. Catchers never use two hands to catch ball...a quick release is all about transferring the ball to the hand and getting the arm into the throwing slot. Watch how most high level fielders make the transfer. They take the glove to the throwing hand which is almost in the slot to and ready to throw. Catching with two hands doesn’t speed this process up because you still need to get the arm back to the slot, and the act of catching puts the glove in a bad position to make a quick transfer to the throwing hand, since the glove is facing forward. With two hands the sequence looks like this....catch, turn the glove, transfer ball, take throwing arm back to throwing slot. With the one hand catch, the Turn, transfer, take back can be combined into one step. It would be easier for me to show you than try to type it it out in words, but trust me, it’s quicker, and if you saw me do it, you’d have an immediate aha moment. Also the two hand catch shortens your reach, slows you down, leaves you less balanced and also leaves the body in a less athletic position to throw. Again think about it...how athletic do you feel running with both hands up over your head?

 

Another key to powerful throws is the ability to get behind the ball and catch it with forward momentum. This too, is more awkward when using two hands.

 

Practically, two hands is only more effective if a ball is hit right at you or you can easily settle under it with no need to throw it quickly and strongly. Very few balls fit this scenario, so more often than not you see one handed catches on fly balls. And let’s be real...pure drops of easy fly balls are rare above the high school level. When you see drops, there are usually other fundamentals that went wrong...losing the in lights/sun, or more likely, simply misreading the fly ball. Two hands often wouldn’t have made a difference.

Edited by rjs4470
Link to comment
Share on other sites

rjs4470, you have so eloquently explained how the thinking in the game evolves over time. We even see infielders on routine popups make the one-handed catch. From now on I will not boil, but will extend a little benefit of doubt. In Oldercoach's day the one-handed catch always got the "hot dog's behind" on the bench.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about the old timer basket catch, perfected by Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays? I believe they used 2 hands. I don't remember any disasters with those but my memory isn't as strong as it once was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about the old timer basket catch, perfected by Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays? I believe they used 2 hands. I don't remember any disasters with those but my memory isn't as strong as it once was.

 

It’s just not a great way to catch a ball unless you simply can’t get underneath it and catch it normally. And unless it is hit right at you, or you can get comfortably to it, you can’t use both hands. If you can’t catch it in front of you, above your waist, at best awkward, at worst nearly impossible to use both hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not nearly as upset with the one handed catches by outfielders as I am with the olé style of defense that the infielders play. I understand there are going to be a lot of times where the ball is hit so hard that you don't have time to get in front of it. But there are many times when they do have time, and still choose to "wave" at it as the ball goes by. And when the ball takes a funny last bounce, there's no time to compensate for it. Heck, they may not even get an error for it. THAT happens 100x more than an outfielder dropping a ball because they didn't two-hand it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not nearly as upset with the one handed catches by outfielders as I am with the olé style of defense that the infielders play. I understand there are going to be a lot of times where the ball is hit so hard that you don't have time to get in front of it. But there are many times when they do have time, and still choose to "wave" at it as the ball goes by. And when the ball takes a funny last bounce, there's no time to compensate for it. Heck, they may not even get an error for it. THAT happens 100x more than an outfielder dropping a ball because they didn't two-hand it.

 

It’s all about how hard the ball is hit. On slower hit balls, fielders will field from the glove side while charging to allow them to get off a quicker, stronger throw. Doesn’t do any good to catch it if you can’t throw the runner out. Modern pros also don’t worry about bad hops. They simply don’t happen all that often on modern, pro fields.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While it did not aways look easy to me, I saw both of these HOF players often make the 2 handed basket catch at the waist level by choice, generally on high, routine fly balls!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s all about how hard the ball is hit. On slower hit balls, fielders will field from the glove side while charging to allow them to get off a quicker, stronger throw. Doesn’t do any good to catch it if you can’t throw the runner out. Modern pros also don’t worry about bad hops. They simply don’t happen all that often on modern, pro fields.

 

I know what you're talking about, but those aren't the ones I'm referencing. These aren't charged at all.

 

As to your comment "Doesn't do any good to catch it if you can't throw the runner out." I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. A ball that's waved at by a first or third baseman very likely could end up a double if it makes it into the outfield, so I dang sure want my infielders to catch the ball first, before thinking about whether or not they can throw the runner out. You can't throw it if you don't have it in the first place.

 

And to bad hops...I agree that fields are immaculately maintained compared to our Little League, or even many of our high school fields. However, I've seen at least a half dozen "bad hops" at the pro level just from watching the Reds this year. But it's not the balls that bounce cleanly in the dirt. Normally they occur when the ball hits where the grass meets the dirt, which usually meant just the end of the infield grass area. But now, with the shift being employed more and more often, and infielders playing deeper, now you have to worry about the area where the infield dirt meets the beginning of the outfield grass, too. So, short of going back to all-turf fields, those areas are always going to be in play for the potential "bad hop", and not even the best grounds crew can do anything about them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using the site you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use Policies.