Practicing the backhand play is critical to mastering this defensive move.
The fielding position for a backhand is very similar to the position when fielding a normal ground ball. In this case, your feet create a 45-degree angle with your throwing hand foot back, and your glove-hand foot in front. Then turn your glove thumb to the ground. It is important to maintain a low base with the glove out in front and your eyes concentrating on following the ball into the web of the glove. If you’re trying to catch this ground ball in the pocket of the glove, it will bounce right out.
A good drill to work on the proper position doesn’t include catching the ball. You’ll go from your ready position while planting your back foot with a 45-degree angle maintaining a low base. From there, the coach or a teammate rolls the ball and you will let the ball hit the instep of the throwing side foot. By moving your feet into the proper position to allow the rolled ball to hit your instep, you will recognize where you need to be to make a backhand play.
To advance this drill, set up a three-cone drill where you will start at the first cone in your ready position. The second cone is approximately 10 feet away, where you will need to get to with the foot of your throwing hand. The third cone is placed where you will place your glove side foot, creating the 45-degree angle to where you will field the ball on the instep. Work to get from the ready-position cone to the second cone, planting your back foot and, then, the third cone planting your front. When you get to this position, your glove should be open, thumb to the ground, ready to catch the ball in the web. You should repeat this movement to work on getting in the proper fielding position for a backhand.
Next, take the cones away and have your coach or a teammate roll you balls so you can get used to fielding the ball. Eventually you will add in the exchange and throw.
The more you do these drills and break the play into these segments, the more that you will become confident with a backhand play, and ultimately will be able to make it in the game when it counts.