Catching the Ball March 07 2018, 0 Comments

My son is 5-1/2 and will be playing t-ball this spring.
I am wanting to practice playing throw and catch with him.
What is the best way to teach  him how to catch with his glove.
It seems hard for him to manipulate his glove... that is to get it to open and close, and the coordination of catching it with the glove.   Maybe I'm expecting too much at this young age?  Should I just encourage him to throw to me, and let me toss it back?

    John MacKinnon, Santa Maria, CA and Michelle
Thank you for the question it is a good one and most parents/coaches don't even think about it.
There are a couple of things that you need to remember when catching a ball.  The first and foremost is that your fingers must be pointed toward the ground if the ball is below your waist, and your fingers must be pointed up to the sky if the ball is above your waist.  This has to happen and you will find very quickly that he wants to have his fingers pointed downward all the time regardless of how high or where the ball is.
What I recommended what I do with real young kids learning to: play catch, roll the ball to them, throw underhand flies ( not very high just a little bit over their head) with a tennis ball.  Then believe it or not the most important thing of all is to take the glove away from them. It is a very interesting phenomenon without the glove he will automatically have his fingers and hands in the right position.  Please play catch with him without the glove for at least three or four weeks straight.  I consider playing catch with him putting the ball on the ground, straight at him and up in the air.
After you've done this for awhile and he is catching the ball with his fingers in the correct position even if he drops the ball a lot don't worry.  Now get him a small cheap glove at Wal-Mart or someplace, one of the biggest mistakes we make is a glove is too big and too stiff and when he starts learning he needs  just a small limber glove.
Thank you for your question and I certainly hope you and your boy have fun being out in the yard and learning to catch the ball because it's great time together and certainly an important baseball skill.  But you're also creating a good athletic skill as well as the time spent.  Please do not get too frustrated with him as this is not an easy hand eye coordination skill to learn but it will come.  Don't forget take the glove away from you learn to catch with your hands.
Best of luck
Coach Arnald Swift