As a young baseball/softball player in my teens and 20’s I developed a simple exercise that dramatically increased my hand speed, my ability to get my mitt where it needed to be instantly, any my eye-speed when the ball was coming my way at high speed.
This may sound crazy but I guarantee it works like a charm. It’s worked for me for 50 years and still works for me today.
Put your mitt on and find a concrete wall with concrete on the ground in front of the wall. Take a golf ball and slowly begin to throw it against the concrete wall (at slow speeds to start) and catch it in the webbing of your mitt.
To field grounders bounce the golf ball off the wall to where it then hits the concrete on the ground in front of the wall and comes back to you. To field fly balls bounce the golf ball off the concrete on the ground in front of the wall first.
Start slowly and increase the speed with which you throw the golf ball in increments. The ball will come off the wall at incredible speeds once you build up your skill in catching it.
This drill works great for several reasons:
* The ball is small and once you practice fielding such a small ball a baseball or softball looks like a large balloon coming at you and makes it easier to pick up with your eyes and mitt.
* The ball will come at you at incredible speeds and once you increase your reaction time to catch it at high speeds a baseball or softball will look like it’s in slow motion when it’s hit to you.
* Catching a golf ball at high speeds dramatically increases your hand-eye coordination and makes it much easier to catch a baseball or softball.
Experiment with this simple drill and you will be amazed at how well and how fast it increases your skill level.