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Baseball Tips – using the alligator position to improve your fielding abilities

Elvis Elvis

The alligator position is a term often used for younger players when referring to the basic baseball fielding position. While the term, “alligator” may be reserved for the young, the techniques that comprise the fielding position are not.

The alligator analogy relates to the fielder’s glove being the alligator’s lower jaw, while the fielder’s throwing hand becoming the upper jaw. The throwing hand should be stationed approximately 12 inches above the glove to protect the fielder’s face. When a ball enters this “mouth” region, the clamp goes down … capturing the baseball in the glove.

The lower body of the alligator

The alligator position starts with you having your body and shoulders squared toward home plate. You should be slightly bent forward – ready to break inward if necessary on any ball that you may need to charge. You should also find yourself on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent. This helps to keep a spring in your step … in preparation of needing to move in any direction. Your bent knees also act as springs if needing to get lower on a ground ball, or jump high on a line drive.

Keep your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Doing so will help with your overall balance. It will also help with you being able to move quickly left or right, as well as handling any ball hit right at you.

Having your feet too close together prevents you from quickly setting up to receive a ball hit directly at you. This is because you must first spread your feet apart and then get into a slight crouch. Not being able to set up quickly then prevents you from using your body to help keep the ball in front of you.

Baseball Tips   using the alligator position to improve your fielding abilities

Keeping your feet spread too far apart has the opposite effect, preventing you from getting a good jump to your left, right, or up into the air to catch a line drive. This is because you must first readjust your leg position in order to push off with any strength.

The upper body of the alligator

Overall, you must keep your head down (following the ball), wrists and elbows bent, and eyes on the ball.

When in the alligator position, your throwing-hand and glove-hand should be out in front of your bent knees and lowered toward the ground. Your glove hand’s palm should be facing home plate, while your throwing hand’s palm should be facing down.

When the ball is hit toward you, keep the glove’s webbing low to the ground – while your throwing hand should move to approximately 12 inches above the webbing of your baseball glove. Use your throwing hand to protect your face from any ball that might roll up your glove’s webbing.

As the ball enters your mitt, squeeze the glove closed and “clamp” down with your throwing hand – much like an alligator snatching his prey. Doing so will prevent the ball from getting away from you. In time, perfecting this technique will help you gain confidence, allowing you to better keep your eyes on the ball throughout the entire time you’re attempting to make the play.

Another benefit to having your throwing hand clamping down on the ball is that your hand is now in the proper position to quickly take the ball from your glove and transition it to your throwing motion with little time being lost. In a game of inches, the time saved from already having your throwing hand adjacent to your glove as you’re fielding the baseball might very well be the difference in the base runner being called out rather than safe.