The real art to fielding is to be ready before the pitch, and react when the ball is hit.
Guess where the ball is going. (Your first guesses may be way off, but keep doing it. Over time you'll develop good fielding instincts.)
Call for the ball - before the hit, in your mind. You want the ball to come to you. Be positive - confident.
Take two short steps in. Forward movement keeps you on the inside balls of your feet. You want to be loose and fluid.
Stay low on a wide base - feet apart, knees bent, rear end down, arms hanging relaxed between knees.
Move to the ball.
For best lateral move to right...
- Drive across with left shoulder. Turn right foot out. As upper body leans right - step with right leg, then left leg. (Don't start with a cross-over step - open the body to the ball side first.)
For lateral to left...
- Lead with right shoulder and step with left foot.
Keep head down, sneak up on the ball - soft strides.
Try to get there early, to face the hit (on all but the most out-of-reach hits.)
Don't get ahead of yourself - focus on catching the ball before you try to throw it.
Establish triangle - wide leg base, arms out in front, maintain balance. (Check with heel tap.)
Stay soft - light feet, relaxed hands, loose shoulders.
Glove below the ball - arms can pull up easier than push down.
On out-of-reach shots - drop to knee with throwing hand for balance, glove arm stretch. (Flat-out dives seldom work.)
A good transfer from glove to throwing hand, starts with a clean catch.
Cradle the ball on the heel of your glove for quick grab by throwing hand (on top).
Don't rake the glove back towards the throwing hand, the ball could fly out . Keep the body behind the ball in case you bobble it.
Don't panic on a bobble, reach down, pick it up and make the throw,
Once you get good with throwing hand picking the ball from the glove heel, you can then try to turn the body to the throwing side - to save time.
Always come up with your feet under you, ready to throw.
More advance instruction by Richard Todd and other instructors is available at WebBall.com.