Crossposted at Checkswing.net
Q: " With the exception of practices and gametime reps any suggestions on getting capable players mentally prepared to minimize fielding errors?"
CC: At Vanguard, we keep reports on whether we think an error committed is
a physical error or a mental error. There are many factors which can
influence fielding misplays (bad hops, wet grass, feeling ill...etc.).
However, all things being equal, here is my two cents on preparing your
Mechanical repetition is first and foremost the easiest and best way to mentally prepare your fielders. The
fielders on my 13u teams are taught
to get low, chest to knees, butt and glove down in order to see
underneath the baseball. From backhands to forehands, they are drilled,
drilled, drilled with that in mind. "Get to the ball, get low, low,
low, chin and chest down, field, transfer, throw". As you begin to
approach each ground ball with a mental plan, your reactions become
quicker and more assertive. Do I charge or stay back? Quick runner...or
slow runner? Their minds make these mental calculations on every ball
hit towards them, so preparing a mental plan will help them approach
each play with confidence.
I also take infield during practices using live runners to teach my fielders to perform with a sense of urgency. Turning double plays, pitchers covering 1st base and charging slow rollers are just a few of the many situations fielders will be put in over the course of a game/season/career. Baseball is a game built more on experiences rather than BLACK and WHITE because of the many situations and the chaos that a batted ball can create. By putting my players through competitive repetitions as much as possible, I can mentally prepare them for as many situations as I can make up...and hopefully create confidence along the way.
Hope this Helps,