Playing First Base – Footwork and Catching the BallBy Coach Randy Griggs
Fundamentals of playing first base
- Footwork and receiving the throw
- First baseman should move to the base as soon as the ball is put in play.
- He should then face the fielder making the throw over to first.
- He should have his knees slightly bent with his heels touching the edge of the base closest to the field.
- He is now waiting for the throw from the fielder.
- As the ball comes toward the base the player should wait until the last possible moment before stretching out towards the ball.
- You don’t want to start the stretch too early as that will not allow you to adjust to an errant throw.
- Should the throw be off target it’s the first baseman’s responsibility to move off the base and catch the ball to avoid an overthrow and advancement of the runner.
- Remember, the first baseman will have to leave the base on errant throws. Keep in mind the top priority is to catch the baseball.
- Inexperienced first baseman will keep their feet on the base way too long and allow an errant throw to get away from them allowing the runners to advance.
- First baseman must know where the throw is going before stretching out to catch the baseball.
- The player should stretch out with the leg on the glove side hand. Right handed first baseman stretch out with the left foot and a left handed first baseman stretches with the right foot.
- There are times when throws will come to the outside of first base and the player will be forced to field the ball on the foul side of the base.
- The player must realize in this situation the runner is coming hard down the line and he should not try to reach across the base line to field the ball or there could be a violent collision.
- The player will move across the base to the foul side and receive the baseball from that position. Should it be impossible to get the foot back on the base the first baseman should quickly put the glove out in front of the base runner to get him to run into the tag.
Our next post will cover throwing the baseball from first base.
Until then, play hard and enjoy this great game.