ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD SHORTSTOP
- Anticipates all defensive plays that could involve him; ready to throw to right base or home plate.
- Stays on top of the ball, with most throws. Plants his feet and throws overhand when possible.
- Works on holding runners close.
- Charges the ball aggressively especially on topped or slow hit balls past the pitcher.
- Covers second base when the bunt is on.
- When positioning to field the ball, cheats slightly towards his weaker side.
- Feet are spread slightly more than shoulder width.
- Toes are turned out to make the lateral move easier.
- Left foot three or four inches in front of your right foot. Body weight up on the balls of the feet and knees slightly bent.
- Keep your back straight, hands resting on knees and head up.
- When the pitcher releases the ball assume the ready position. The difference between the set and ready positions is slight but very significant.
- Move hands from your knees to stomach level and slightly out in front.
- Keep your eyes focused intently into the strike zone, focusing on the ball and anticipating a line drive in the direction of third-base.
Fielding Ground Balls
- Move straight towards the ball without straightening up. Straightening up will cause your weight to shift from the balls of your feet to the back of your heels.
- Stay low, keep your body under control, and eyes on the ball until it rolls into your glove.
- On balls hit to your right, use the cross over step, straighten up and then make the throw.
- Ground balls to the left require the cross over step, then pivoting on left foot, keeping the body in front of the ball, then straightening up, and planting the right foot before throwing.
Fielding Pop Flies
- Go back on all pop flies until an outfielder calls you off.
- Always make an effort to get to balls that are hit behind the third baseman.
Making The Double Play
- Do not leave your fielding position too soon. The ball is your focus as it may be hit towards you.
- Do not assume that every ball hit is a double play chance. Always focus on getting the lead runner.
- If the shortstop fields the ball and is making an unassisted putout, their momentum should carry them across the bag and out of the way of a charging runner.
Backing Up The Bases
- Second Base – When the second baseman is covering on a steal attempt.
- Third Base – On throws from the catcher.
This tip was contributed by Scoreboard Canada, a Web site that publishes thorough sections of baseball instruction and ideas.