Shortstop is a very important position in baseball. This position receives so many hits that the player standing here is considered to be the best defensive player among all.
What makes a good shortstop in baseball? Well, it is a detailed combination of athletic abilities with the correct expertise. Let’s see what it needs to do great at this position.
Traits of a Shortstop
Shortstop is a fielding position between second and third base. The defensive specialist of the field mainly plays in this position. It is the position that receives more hits than any other as there are more right-handed hitters than left-handed in baseball.
This position is highly demanding and wants the player to be innovative. A shortstop must be a team player who is good at communicating with a more substantial hand and excellent agility.
Here is everything that will make you a good shortstop in baseball:
Fielding: Take full advantage of the gloves
A good shortstop takes full advantage of the glove’s surface area. Many players, while catching the ball, set it parallel to the ground. In fact, the glove should be perpendicular to the ground. It doesn’t allow the ball to bounce up the arm and provides a solid foundation to hold on to.
Some things to consider while fielding:
- Keep your hands extended
- Your glove hand should relax as the body produces faster reflex when not tensed
- Keep the balance by securing the ball by bringing it to your chest immediately after you catch it; throw it later
- Your elbow and shoulder should be in line with the base you are throwing to
Throwing: Use the Right Mechanics
For a shortstop to throw the ball correctly, having a good grip all the time is essential. You need to be accurate on the field. For a straight throw, you should always go for a strong 4-seam grip. This grip allows the maximum backward rotation. You always use this proper grip to throw.
After keeping the proper grip, you need to follow the correct mechanics:
- Keep the glove right in the middle of your body after catching the ball
- Make your shoulders and feet in line with the base
- The back and front side should work side by side
- Use your wrist and fingers to throw
- Feet should be used to line up your body to the target and also to create momentum to get more on the throw
- In the standard throw, your head should be upright, not tilted to see the target with both eyes
The knowingness of the Field: About the Communication
As an infielder, a shortstop should have flawless communication with the teammates. There are many things that lead to a successful defense. Non-verbal communication is happening all over the field, and you should understand what is happening.
The main action of a shortstop is the proper reaction at the right time. For instance, when you and the catcher communicate where the ball will fall, you should not move from your place right away. A good hitter will see you move and get the idea of what to do.
Make your move in the direction just before the contact so that the hitter doesn’t get the time to evaluate the situation and use the old technique to make the hit.
A Smart Routine with Non-Routine Play
A good shortstop goes for a fielding routine. It is the cluster of physical and mental steps in a meaningful series that helps you be ready for the game.
It takes your body and mind to understand the situation of the field. It should comprise of ground balls that might appear in the game. The number could even reach 50 balls, depending on your mental condition.
That’s what a good player does, but an intelligent player thinks out of the box and does the different practices.
In the routine practice, you should also add some non-routine play. You can practice off-balance throws, throwing on the run, spin play, jump throws, back tosses, glove flips, any other play that challenges your routine practice.
Use your time constructively, and don’t restrict yourself while practicing. The practicing time should make you feel acquainted with the field and give you total awareness of the gameplay.
Consistent with Hard Work: A Good Game Always
Whether on-field or during a practice session, a good player works hard to achieve the desired goals, a smart shortstop is the one who is consistent when playing.
A good player has his mind on the game. He is entirely focused on all the components that make up the game. The on-field distractions don’t bother him, and he always gives his full potential.
Other Important Traits
Agility: A good shortstop is speedy and makes fast movements on the field to get the ball.
- Understanding the situation.
- Letting others do the job like a second or third baseman.
- Communicating efficiently in the field are qualities of a good shortstop.
A Great Hitter: A shortstop who also knows how to hit well is a gem in the team’s eye. Many shortstops nowadays come as a hitter on the field in the top order.
Strong Arms: It is essential to have strong arms in the play for the shortstop. Clumsy hands couldn’t catch the ball or throw it properly.
Decision Maker: Captain of the infield, a shortstop should be outstanding in making decisions as they have more duties on the field than catching the ball. When the ball is in the air, he communicates with other infielders about the correct fielding.
There is not just a single thing that makes a shortstop good in baseball, but there are several factors.
From catching the ball right to making communication throughout the field, there are lots of things happening.
A good shortstop abides by all the game rules and gives a consistent performance. Also, he has the agility to move accordingly, and he takes the correct decision to guide others.