Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki earned consecutive Gold Glove awards as the National League’s top fielder at his position, but he’s anything but defensive when it comes to infield play. Tulowitzki says, “My approach to fielding a ground ball is simple: I want to be aggressive as I possibly can.”
It may seem like a strange approach to handling hard-hit ground balls; however, numerous benefits accrue when you play aggressive defense.
For starters, charging forward and attacking a ground ball cuts down on bad hops and allows you to keep the ball in front of your body. Being aggressive also eliminates the risk of being caught flat-footed. Instead, it helps you create momentum toward first base.
This attacking mentality is the reason Tulowitzki led all MLB shortstops in fielding percentage (.991) and fewest errors committed (6) in 2011.
Ground Ball Fielding Mechanics
Attack ground ball
Keep non-throwing arm straight
Field ball in front of body
Generate momentum toward first base when fielding ball
Grasp ball with four-seam grip and make throw
Tulowitzki: “Don’t be afraid to try different arm angles during practice. It’s very important to be able to throw from low, sidearm and even over the top.”
Watch a video of Tulowitzki demonstrating proper fielding technique.