Northwest Independent
Baseball League

Selecting and buying your Glove    Fielding-Tips from the Pros -
  JT Snow: First Base Tips
J.T. earned International League MVP and Rookie of the year honors in Triple-A. He has won 6 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, and is only the forth player in baseball history to win multiple Gold Glove awards in both the American and National leagues.

"The best way to improve your defense is persistent practice and repetition. My philosophy on defense is practice, practice, practice. There really is no substitute for hard work and practice. Typically, I keep the following in mind when working on my defensive":
  • There is no substitute for hard work and practice.
  • Whenever you get a spare minute in practice, work on ground ball drills.
  • Try to have someone throw balls to you in the dirt.
  • When scooping balls out of the dirt, try to keep your glove down.
  • If you see the ball bounce, try to raise your glove with the ball and make sure to give with, or cushion, the ball.
  • Another thing a first baseman should always do is expect a bad throw from your infielders. It won't always happen, but when it does, you'll be ready for it.
  Robin Ventura: Third Base Tips
Ventura was the first major leaguer to hit grand slams in both games of a doubleheader. He is a six-time Gold Glove Award Winner. In 1987, he was the College Player of the Year. The following year, he won the Golden Spikes Award (nation's best amateur player), and was a member of the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning team.

"Properly positioning yourself is one of the most important aspects to your fielding game."
  • Position yourself as far back as you feel comfortable, but take into consideration how fast the batter runs to first.
  • If the batter has a reputation of bunting, try to get in close, and be ready for it.
  • When in a double play situation and a ground ball is hit toward the third base side, try to wait for the ball to get close enough to you and then start your movement towards second base. Catch it and throw it all in one movement.
  • If a runner on second is threatening to steal third, make sure that you keep an eye on him. If he attempts to steal third, wait as long as you can to see if the batter at home plate hits the ball. But try to be close enough to third to get to the base by the time the catcher throws it. You might want to cheat a little bit to third base to play it safe.
  • If a runner is rounding third base and heading home, and a ball is hit to the outfield, try to position yourself about 15 feet in from the grass. Make sure the runner touches third base, and also be on your toes for the ball coming in.
  Brooks Robinson: How to Straighten Your Throws
Legendary third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, Brooks Robinson is tied for the MLB record with 16 Gold Glove awards. He holds 10 career fielding records for third basemen, and led American League third basemen in fielding percentage 11 times.

"Whether throwing to a base, or simply playing catch, the best thing to do is step toward your target. I had an accurate arm, but my arm got stronger just by throwing a lot."
  • The best thing to do is to step towards the base you are throwing to.
  • Mix in some long tosses to make your arm stronger.
  • To straighten out your throw, get on top of the ball.
  • If you throw 3/4 over the top, do not let your arm drop to the side.
  • Always try to hold the ball across the seam.
  Roberto Alomar: Conditioning Your Glove
Finding a glove that best suits your needs is mostly based on how it feels to you, according to the Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar. "My gloves usually last two to three years," he said. "I always have a glove that I only use in games, and one that I use during batting practice that I break in to eventually use in games. The glove I'm using now is two years old. I started using it in spring training two years ago, and I've kept it since then."
  • I like my glove to be very flexible so I like soft leather.
  • I do not like a glove with a deep pocket because when you are turning a double play, the ball can get lost in a deep pocket. I like a relatively flat, shallow glove, which allows you to find the ball quickly.
  • Tying any of the laces that stick out from a glove makes it tighter and more rigid. Since I like my glove to be flexible, I just let the laces dangle. When I get the glove new, all the laces are tied up in knots but they eventually work themselves loose and then I just let them stay that way.
  • My glove is pretty small, even for a middle infielder. Second basemen usually have the smallest gloves of all the fielders, and in most cases, shortstops will have slightly bigger gloves than second basemen.
  • All of the guys in the clubhouse know that I also don't like anyone putting their hand in my glove. It's built for my hand, and if someone else puts their hand in it to try it on, I can usually tell, because it will feel looser on my hand when I put it back on.
  • It's hard to say exactly what makes a good baseball glove, but mostly it has to feel right to you.
  • In cold weather, sometimes I will spray some stick-um on the inside of my glove to give my hand a better grip on the inside of the glove. I spray it on the outside of the thumb so I can rub my throwing hand on it for a better grip on the ball for throws.
  Countdown Drill
This is a fun drill to help first and second graders develop good hands, and a quick release.

Have the players line up accross from a partner about 20 feet apart. They are to make good throws back and forth as many times an they can while the coach counts down from 30 to zero. The player who does not have the ball at zero wins. (You should see the kids scramble for a dropped, or loose ball.)
(coach Kevin Nickelson)
  Glove Extention Drill
Young players often make the mistake of fielding ground balls with their glove directly beneath them, rather than extended out in front. This drill helps ensure proper extension.

Lay a bat on the ground perpendicular to a line of players. The first player in line should be 6 feet from the bat in a ready position. The Coach stands about 10 feet away opposite the players, and rolls a ball toward the bat. The pPlayer must approach the ground ball and assume a good fielding position right behind the bat, without his feet touching or going over it. In order to prevent the ball from rolling into the bat the player must have his glove extended in front of the bat. Once the player secures the ball, he sprints forward, places it at the feet of the coach, and runs to the end of the line. The Coach keeps rolling a ball to the next player each time a ball is placed at his feet.
(Coach Colbert)
  Fence Drill
This drill is designed to quicken reaction time to grounders and line drives using lateral movement. The entire team competes in a contest to see which player can keep the most out of 10 balls from hitting a fence or wall behind him.

Mark an area of a fence or wall about 20 feet wide and 6 feet high. One at a time, fielders stand in front of the fence. A fungo hitter stands about 40 feet away, and hits balls to him. The hits should be to different spots within the fence markings (left, right, grounders, line drives). The fielder has to prevent the balls from hitting the fence behind him. Each fielder gets 10 balls hit to him. The fielder with the most stops of the 10 balls wins the round.
  Dirt Lines Ground Ball Drill
This drill is used to teach young players to get their hands and glove out front when fielding a grounder. The young player often gets in the habit of catching grounders close to his or her feet or slightly in front of the toes. As coaches, we want infielders to extend their arms and get the glove out in front so that they can see the ball into it. The player should "lay" the glove on the ground out in front of his body . Each players distance will vary. However, a good rule of thumb is to try and extend the length from the players arm or from the tip of the fingers to the armpit. Another good measuring scale is they should be able to extend the length of the the bat they use. This distance is measured on the ground from the back of his heel outward. For this drill we pair two players. The players will roll grounders to each other from about 6 to 8 feet. The coach draws two lines in the dirt about 8 feet apart. The players must catch the ball out in front of this line. The coach will then draw a second line for each player - this is the "feet" line. The players feet must stay behind this line. The players roll the ball and catch it while making sure to:
  1. Get extension.
  2. Keep the elbows off the ribs.
  3. Funnel the ball in using the top "bare" hand.
  4. Work their feet as they bring the ball up to the correct "T" throwing position.
  5. Roll the ball back to your partner.
  6. Repeat the process 50 to 100 times.

  Glove Break In and how to select your glove

There are many methods to breaking your glove and everyone has their own opinion. The following ideas come from our craftsmen's personal experiences and what tends to work for them. There really isn't an overnight solution to breaking your glove, we will show you some of the do's and don'ts to breaking in your new glove.

First we will give you a step by step process to the best way we believe, to breaking in your new glove.
  1. Rub in glove oil or glove conditioner of your choice, we prefer to use Rawlings Glovolium. Start with the palm of the glove and work outward from there, be sure to cover the entire glove (DO NOT SATURATE, JUST COAT IT). Some people like to use shaving cream in this step which is fine.

  2. When glove has dried, play catch with someone, the more catching you do the better the glove will form to your hand and fingers.

  3. When you are finished playing catch, apply a light coat of oil or conditioner. Then put a baseball or softball in the pocket of the glove (We prefer using a softball to increase the size of the pocket). Then close the glove around the ball. Using a string or rubber band to tie the glove tightly with the ball in place. Repeat this step whenever you are not using the glove until the glove is broke in the way you want it, this will help hold the shape of your pocket.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, until the glove is broke in. The more you use your new glove the faster the glove will break in.


Notes: Try to keep a ball in your glove when it is not being used to prevent the glove from getting flat and losing its shape. Condition or oil your glove a couple times a year, maybe more depending on how dry and dirty your glove is.

Glove Repair Don'ts:
  • Do not submerge your glove under water, some believe this is a quick solution to breaking in you glove. All you are doing is ruining the leather and run a risk of cracking and drying out your glove.
  • Do not put your glove in the oven or microwave.
  • Do not dry your glove using a heat source such as a hair dryer.
  • Do not buy a pre-broken in glove, they are not as durable and will not last as long.
Glove Repair Do's:
  • Keep a ball in your glove when it is not being used.
  • Condition your glove occasionally to prevent drying and cracking.
  • To protect the inside of your glove you can wear a batting glove to keep sweat from drying and cracking the leather.
  • Tighten your laces routinely, occasionally leather will loosen.

About Wood Bats from RLC BATS

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