By: Coach Bob McCreary
Provided by: Baseball By The Yard
When I work with young infielders, I always coach them as if they are shortstops. I do this because a shortstop typically has to have the most efficient footwork of all the fielders. Shortstops have the longest throw to first base and are often the farthest from the batter. Add those two realities together and any inefficient footwork on the part of the shortstop will more likely result in a safe runner at first base.
To complete the fielding and throwing motion, a shortstop only needs four steps - two to catch the ball and two to throw the ball. Any additional steps (especially after catching the ball) significantly slow down the fielder's ability to make the play.
This is why all my fielders learn the four step process to fielding ground balls no matter where they play in the infield. It's the most efficient way to effectively catch and throw. For an old video I did on how to approach a ground ball, click HERE.
If a third baseman or second baseman has more time on a ground ball, they can always add steps as needed. However, when a fast runner hits a slower ground ball, all fielders will need to use those four steps for greater efficiency. If they are used to practicing those four steps then reverting back to them will be much easier. Getting your body in the habit of taking 5, 6, or 7 steps will make it much harder to cut your steps down to four.
It's always easier to add steps than subtract steps so get your fielders' feet used to making the plays in four steps.