Q. Fielding: The Backhand
A. Have your baseball players get on one knee like you see Jimmy Rollins in this picture. Toss a ball underhanded at their right foot. They will most likely lean over the foot and reach out to catch it (like Rollins). Keep tossing them baseballs. Then start giving them balls that they can't catch in the air. Don't tell them what to do, just let them reach out and pick it off the ground.
If a baseball player approaches a backhand play with the back knee up off the ground, he has to reach down to get the baseball. When he reaches down his eyes will tilt an he'll be watching the ball with his eyes at an angle. Go play catch and see how much harder it is to catch a baseball when your head is tilted sideways.
Teaching point: When the back knee goes down, three good things happen...
1) Your center of gravity lowers and it is easy to stop and change directions to throw to first base.
2) Your eyes can stay level and you will see the ball better. You are also lower so the ground ball is easier to see.
3) When you are lower, it makes it easier to reach further out with the glove hand to get the right hop. (catching the ball right after it has taken a bounce off of the ground)
Teaching point: When you position your right foot in front of the ball (right-handers), three good things happen...
1) Your eyes can stay level.
2) You can reach further out to grab the right hop.
3) You can stand up and immediately be in a position to throw the ball.
You can see in this last picture, that when the knee doesn't go down as far, the eyes are not as level. Also, if this player was running to this ball at full speed, he would probably catch the ball and fall slightly to his right before stopping his momentum and changing directions to throw.
Brian Berger, ABC Holiday Baseball Camp director, Owner Youth Baseball Edge