Young ball players and racehorses are continually schooled in the mechanics of proper movement, from double-play feeds to changing leads correctly. Many of this early schooling took place in the “old days” on natural fields, but artificial surfaces have changed the way some are now taught. Indeed, many young ball players and horses now get trained on multiple surfaces—certainly how I’ve brought along my players over the last few years—and I think this is a good thing. Although I’d rather not have my players play on any surface except natural dirt with grass infields, reality is that man-made surfaces are here for now, so why not cross train while they are here? They can only benefit by practicing on a surface they might have to play on, right?
Below are three six-second videos of shortstop Joe Fernando, then 12 but yesterday 14, practicing some double-play feeds with infielder Brandon I. on a natural field. As a purist, I admit there’s nothing like the feeling of dirt and grass underneath cleats! Joe’d agree with me, too.