Baseball is a famous sport popularized by the United States and enjoyed by many spectators from all over the world. Children who are influenced by either their parents who are baseball fans or the baseball team at school also dream of becoming famous baseball players in the future.
To help a child achieve their baseball dream, you must first teach them the fundamentals of baseball. One of the fundamentals you should learn is exactly how to teach a kid to catch a baseball.
Once you have mastered this guide on catching a baseball, you may grab your child’s gloves and ball, then start teaching them how to catch!
A Detailed Guide
At first, it may seem like catching a baseball is an easy task to do. Some may claim that all you have to do is to raise your arms and “catch” the ball.
But, there is more behind catching a ball, especially when it is put into a sport like baseball. Children must learn and understand the basics, tips, and techniques involved before actually being immersed in the actual game itself.
What to Prepare:
- A softball or tennis ball
- A baseball glove designed for kids
Catching Tip #1: Use a Soft and Round Object First
There are many alternatives to using a baseball while teaching how to catch a baseball for beginners. Especially if they are only 5 year olds or 6 year olds, an adult must first bear in mind the child’s safety.
Baseballs in actuality, are almost rock-hard and can cause serious injuries, especially to the head. So, using a softball or tennis ball may be the safest option.
This does not mean that you should go grab an actual baseball when teaching baseball drills for 7 year olds or 8 year olds.
This is because the benefits of using a soft ball when you teach a child skills like catching will eventually encourage them to continue learning even if they get hit by the ball.
Catching Tip #2: Practice with Gloves
When teaching how to catch a baseball, the child must also know how to wear their own gloves. Knowing exactly what kind of gloves fit best for their hands and ensuring that they are using baseball gloves designed for kids are just two preparation steps.
Then, once the right glove is worn by the child, you can teach them youth baseball catching drills like closing and opening their hands with the gloves on.
The opening and closing their gloved hands is just the first step in building muscle memory when you teach a kid to catch a ball with a glove.
Catching Tip #3: Learn the Correct Catching Position
Body positioning is one of the fundamentals that come along when you teach catching a baseball. Without knowing the correct body position, the child is more prone to getting hit by the ball.
Most kids tend to catch the baseball close to their body. You must caution them that when they have their hands positioned that way, they will eventually get hit by the ball.
So, the ready-to-receive position is the proper way your child’s body should be while waiting for the ball to come. This kind of position is taught in youth baseball drills as it is the proper and safe way of catching a baseball.
All you must do is bend your knees down and have your catching hand in front of your chest – not too close and not too far. The hand must be clearly in front as the throwing partner will use your hand as a target when throwing the ball to you.
Catching Tip #4: Teach the Different Ways to Catch a Baseball
There are different types of catching in baseball to teach your children once they get the hang of the fundamentals.
- An underhanded catch
The easiest that beginners must first try is an underhanded catch. In case you’re not familiar yet, an underhand catch is used when you catch a ball below your chest.
While doing underhand catches, the palm must be facing up and the wrists loose. Once the child becomes comfortable with underhand catches, you can start slowly transitioning to throwing the ball a bit higher.
- Overhand catch
The next kind of catch that your child will learn is the overhand catch. This catch technique is used when the ball is aimed at or above their chest area.
In the overhand catching position, the arms of the child should reach for the ball in front while the palm of their hands is facing the person throwing the ball.
At this point, re-enforcing the ready-to-receive position is important to ensure that the child is prepared to catch the ball to avoid accidents and injuries.
The best way to teach a child how to catch a baseball is to simply show them how to. Ask for a third person to join in and be responsible for throwing the ball.
Then, you, on the other hand, will get behind your child. From this position, the child can see the ball approaching them after it is thrown, but you do the actual catching.
This is a helpful tip for kids who still can’t imagine what it’s like to catch a ball. Especially for those still afraid to catch a ball, even just letting them see the ball approaching them is a way for them to learn a catching technique called spotting.
Spotting is basically looking for the ball and having your eyes fixed on it before you catch it. You can definitely add spotting into your list of helpful drills to teach your child when it comes to learning catching in baseball.
How to teach a kid to catch a baseball may seem like an easy skill. However, as someone teaching a child, key points to remember include safety first.
It is also essential to bear in mind that preparation is key to learning how to catch in baseball. Preparation involves building muscle memory and learning the correct body positioning.
After the preparation steps, the child will be introduced to the underhand and the overhand catch.
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.