It is important to field or catch the ball with soft hands when it is a quick grounder or the ball is thrown. This Soft Hands softball drill will allow the players to work on the patience they need for this skill. The body can be moved closer to the ball or in line with the ball but the glove needs to be in control to allow the ball to enter the pocket on its own with ease. This will not only increase the chances of keeping the ball in the gloves but will also make it easier for the transition to throwing.
When the ball is stationary however it is necessary to pick it up with the bare hand without it entering the glove. It is common for players to attempt to pick up the ball with the glove. This increases the chances of the ball being dropped or sent away from the hands and missing the play.
Soft Hands Softball Drill
Start with a slower ground ball so that the players have to wait for the ball to get to the glove. I realize we ask them to charge the ball on these but this drill has a specific purpose, to let the ball into the glove. Then increase the speed of the ball and add throwing to the mix. Have the players focus on being patient and waiting for the ball to enter the glove and transitioning to throwing using their feet. You could even start with just getting the ball into the glove and then add the throw after.
Instruct the players to open their glove, wait for the ball to hit the pocket and then close around it. In many cases the hand and glove will close around the ball automatically from the impact.
Attempting to “grab” the ball with your glove hand requires that the fielder time the closure as the ball enters the glove and if the timing is slightly off, the ball will hit the edge of the closed glove causing an error. Open it wide and let the impact of the ball signal closure.