The players who know how to dive and make a play Stand Out!
Unfortunately the ones who don’t “do too!”
Dive wrong and you risk injury, which is why so many players fake it. They wait until the ball is passed and, kind of falling down, they simulate a dive. It’s there way of showing effort while at the same time they keep themselves from getting hurt.
Then they’re the Loose Cannons, you know, the ones with more brawn than brains. He’s the player we cringe and look away every time he dives after a ball and breathe as sigh of relief when they surprisingly get up without injury. They don’t know how to dive either, but they are not afraid of getting dirty!
For most players it’s that fear of getting hurt, that stinging diving board belly flop memory that seems to cause that visual/mental battle going on in their heads. Excuse or not it’s easy to understand why diving on those fields hard as a parking lot seems out of the question. The true question is how do you dive? We’ve seen too many players ending up with a broken or seriously sprained wrist.
First we need to believe your knees and elbows will do the right thing and cushion your body versus our hands to break the fall. It truly is simple, but you have to extend your arms and dive in a superman fashion.
Here’s a drill I use.
- Facing each other – stand about 20 feet apart
- Let him know which direction to dive
- Present the ball to him – preparing to throw it underhand
- First Time performing the Drill [without throwing the ball]
- Have the player begin on his knees – Have him dive to the left, then dive to the right
- Have him stand-up, collapse the knee; and then dive. Again, dive to the left and then dive to the right.
- Once you are sure he is comfortable diving without using his throwing hand to cushion the fall introduce the baseball to the drill.
- Again, letting him know the direction, present the ball. When you start your motion he should start the dive and you throw a soft line drive.
- Make sure he keeps his eye on the ball as he extends his hands.
- Within reason you can keep extending your throw, which will make him become more comfortable diving after the ball in almost any situation, and reduce the chance of injury.
Here’s a short video clip example:
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