Fielding fly balls is an important skill for any baseball player's game.
Fielding a fly ball is important for both an outfielder’s and an infielder’s defensive game. In order to field a fly ball communication is very important. When a ball is hit and multiple players go after that ball it is critical that someone calls off the other players for that ball. For that to happen players have to know the priority list. Outfielders have priority over the middle infielders, and the middle infielders have priority over the corner infielders. In the case that both the second basemen and shortstop call for the ball, the shortstop has priority. When the ball is hit into the outfield, the center fielder has the power to call off both the right fielder and left fielder.
Fielding Fly Balls as an Outfielder
The outfielder should be in a ready position, knees slightly bent, and glove in front of his body. When the ball is hit the fielder should take a step back, and analyze the direction, speed, and angle of the ball. When the fielder is sure where the ball is going to land, he sprints to that spot, and squares up his shoulders. If it is a right handed thrower, the left foot should be slightly in front of the right foot and vice versa. The fielder should raise his glove above his head on his glove side, and catch the ball with two hands. If a ball is hit to an outfielder’s glove hand side, the outfielder should open up with his left or right foot depending on whether you are a righty or a lefty at a forty-five degree angle, and run with as little head movement as possible on the balls of his feet. Less head movement will decrease the chance of misjudging the path of the ball. When the player is ready to catch the ball, again he squares up his shoulders, and puts his foot opposite his power foot slightly in front, and catches the ball with two hands. If the ball is hit further into the gap, the player can catch the ball with one hand as necessary. On the ball that is hit to the throwing hand side the player should open up with his right or left foot at a forty-five degree angle, and use the same technique used at a ball hit to the glove side.
Fielding Pop-Ups for Infielders
When a ball is popped up, the infielders should know who has priority. Each fielder has their own general area of responsibility. The corner infielders have to cover the area around the first and third base bags (including foul ground), and the shortstop and second basemen are responsible for fielding pop-ups on the left and right sides of second base respectively.