So you made the decision to become a catcher. The catcher position in baseball is a physically and mentally demanding position. A great way to try and deal with the different demands as a catcher is to learn some different aspects of the game and try and learn from other catchers' experiences. A lot of times there are no right or wrong answers but here are some tips that may be able to help you in the future as a catcher. Here are 4 simple yet essential tips for young catchers as they start out in the game.
1 - Heels on the Ground
One common misconception for catchers is they’re supposed to be on their toes while in their catcher’s stance (doing so while giving your signs is ok). If this is something that you do, try catching with your heels on the ground. It may be uncomfortable at first, but once your body is used to this technique, it can make being in your stance a whole lot easier and keep you more stable, balanced and athletic to react to the outcome of the pitch.
2 - Relaxing your Glove Hand
When holding up your target, you may leave your glove up throughout the duration of the pitch. There is nothing wrong with this technique but it may be to your benefit if you try relaxing your glove hand while the pitch is coming in. Giving your hand a split second of rest can be a huge help with your receiving ability. Like any other athletic endeavour, the more relaxed we are the better we can react to the situation.
3 - Pitch Selection
When dealing with a starting pitcher, the first time through the lineup can be very different than the second or third. As a hitter it can be much easier to hit a pitcher later in the game because you get a chance to see different pitches and get used to them. It can benefit your pitcher if you limit your secondary pitches the first time through the lineup. The reason for this is so the hitters get less opportunity to adjust to other pitches throughout the game.
4 - Off-speed Pitch Location
When selecting where to throw pitches, it’s a general rule to throw off-speed pitches away. This is usually a good concept to follow, but there can be exceptions to this. If you decide to throw an off-speed pitch inside, make sure you call for the ball to be down. It’s a lot more difficult for a hitter to take advantage of a pitch down rather than up.
So if you are making the move to go behind the plate, keep these 4 simple tips in mind that you may not have otherwise known. You'll be off to a great start in your new career behind the plate and donning the tools of ignorance.
If you have any questions or your own tips for young catchers, we would love it if you could share them below in the comments.
Kevin Hussey - The Baseball Zone
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