One of the number one ways to gauge defense on a baseball team is fielding percentage. Fielding percentage is calculated primarily by how often the ball is fielded cleanly compared to the number of times the ball is hit to them. This gives you a rough estimate of how well your defense is performing at a given time.

Here are five basic baseball tips to increase fielding percentage on your team.

Better Fielding Tip Number One

It goes without saying that the best way to increase fielding percentage is to practice fielding the baseball. How you practice this is just as important. Do not simply put your outfielders in a group and hit them pop flies. This does nothing to simulate a game situation, and rarely pays much dividends. Instead, make certain that all of your practice sessions are done from their positions on the field. In other words, third basemen should be fielding the baseball from third base.

Better Fielding Tip Number Two

Make certain that your equipment is right for the job. There is a reason that certain types of gloves are made for certain positions. Likewise, a softball glove should only be used for softball and a baseball glove should only be used for baseball. If you are a first baseman, you should have a first baseman glove. Etc. etc. Make certain that you have the proper cleats as well. Improper traction can prevent you from getting proper position on a baseball.

Better Fielding Tip Number Three

Invest in a pair of good quality sunglasses. Baseball sunglasses should have the ability to be flipped up or down quickly, and should be relatively dark to guard against the sun. Poor sunglasses can certainly affect fielding ability for outfielders and infielders alike.

Better Fielding Tip Number Four

Watch video of the great fielders and make notes about technique. The best baseball players watch and emulate the best and they are not ashamed to learn from them. You do not have to copy a fielder’s style, but you should note their technique. How do they approach a ground ball? Do they field and release the throw quickly, or do they make sure the ball is secure and then throw? These types of questions and observations can make your game better quickly.

Be sure to watch instructional videos like this one:

Better Fielding Tip Number Five

The most common problem with fielding a baseball at the lower levels is a fear of the baseball. If you have trouble getting in front of the baseball and you fear being hit, then you will have little to no chance of fielding the baseball with success. You have to stay in front of the ball every time, and get down low to block it from getting by you. This way if you do make an error you can often recover and minimize the damage. Practice getting in front of the baseball and understand that the ball will not hurt you except in super rare situations.

Try your best to implement these tips and you’ll be sure to see improvement in your fielding percentage at any position.