The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Jun 30, 2017 3:47:00 PM

Let Catchers Call the Game

If you go to a baseball game (from Little League to pro ball), there’s a very good chance of you seeing a catcher get into their crouch and look over to their coach for a sign. You might not think anything of it but that catcher is missing out on a development opportunity he will not get back. And that coach may not be putting his team in an advantageous position. Catchers MUST learn to call pitches or they will never develop as catchers. A catcher that calls pitches, takes so much into consideration that they won’t even realize it until they’re forced to think about it. Things like stride direction, bat speed, physical adjustment, mentality, approach, are all things catchers will have the opportunity to assess when they’re calling pitches. Taking that away from them is like taking away their identity. Not only will you be taking their mind out of the game, you’re going to put them at a physical disadvantage as well.

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Topics: baseball strategy, baseball coaching, baseball philosophy, baseball, catching, coach player relationship, coaching, baseball leadership, catching skills, catching tips

Kevin Hussey | Jun 18, 2015 6:30:00 AM

3 Tips for Young Catchers on Throwing to Second Base

Throwing the ball as a catcher takes a very unique skill set to be successful. Catchers need to have athleticism, arm strength, and great accuracy to be able to throw successfully. Without these skills, it’s very difficult to consistently throw runners out. Here are some tips that will help young catchers with their time to second.

Moving Forward

A problem that most kids have is that they have a tendency to step out towards their glove side with their initial step. This technique can have a negative effect on two things - accuracy and arm strength. When you start allowing your momentum to move in directions other than the direction you’re trying to throw, you’re displacing the momentum needed to throw the runner out. Your first step should be with your throwing side foot and straight towards second base.

Transfer

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Topics: baseball skills, throwing skills, defensive baseball, catching, throwing power, catching skills, catching fundamentals, catching tips, throwing issues, ball transfer skills, throwing accuracy

Kevin Hussey | Jun 3, 2015 2:57:54 PM

3 Fundamental Baseball Plays That Are Often Taken For Granted

Throughout the years in baseball, teams have practiced many different aspects of the game. Most practices consist of the three main components of baseball; hitting, defense, and pitching. Although baseball is based around those three aspects, there are a lot of little things in baseball that get overlooked in practice but need to be worked on if one is to expect them to be committed flawlessly in a competitive situation. Every coach should have a rule that you cannot put a kid in a situation they haven’t practiced. Here are three of those situations that get overlooked in practice but will get used in games, often making situations worse off than they could have been.

Pitch Out

A pitchout is a technique that seems like it should be easy, but it needs to be practiced. Pitchers often have issues throwing this pitch where it needs to be. The location of this pitch is so important because every inch the pitch is off is an extra inch the catcher has to make up for in their release. This needs to be practiced by the catcher as well because it’s different than a typical throw to second base. The catcher needs to worry about getting their body over in time, but also worry about not leaving the catcher's box before the ball is released.

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Topics: hitting, baseball communication, pitching, baseball practice, baseball fundamentals, catching, catching fundamentals, practicing under pressure, infield communication, baseball team defense, team defense, pick off moves, team practice, pitch out, intentional walk

Kevin Hussey | May 12, 2015 8:16:46 AM

How to Handle Your Catchers in Practice Without a Dedicated Coach

Some teams do not have the luxury of having a coach at baseball practice for every position. Often times what happens is the coaches will be with the pitchers, infielders and outfielders, while the catchers are stuck catching balls for the infielders. If this is the case, you need to teach the catchers how they can coach themselves.

When catchers practice their skills, they shouldn’t practice anything for more than 10 minutes unless they‘re learning a new skill. The best way for a catcher to practice individual skills is 5-10 minutes at a time. Catchers can work on receiving, blocking and throwing, all for 5-10 minutes a practice. All of these skills can be practiced without the assistance of a coach. All that is needed is two or more catchers to work with each other.

Here are some drills that can be practiced every day:

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Topics: baseball practice, catching, practice organization, catching drills, catching skills, catching tips, team practice

Kevin Hussey | Apr 29, 2015 2:01:42 PM

Quick Tips for Catchers on Preventing Injury and Blocking Pitches

Physically speaking, the most difficult part of being a catcher is blocking pitches. Blocking pitches can be mentally and physically draining but also very difficult to do well. It’s important to understand how to block a pitch and how to protect yourself. Here are some examples of how to accomplish each.

Preventing Injury

When blocking pitches, there is always a risk of injury. Catchers' equipment is there to protect the important parts of your body like your head, chest and knees. But there are a couple parts of your body that are important that equipment does not protect - your throwing hand and neck. Since these body parts are not protected, your job is to protect them yourself. There are two ways we can protect our throwing hand when blocking a pitch. One way is to hide it behind your glove; the other is to leave it behind you. Ideally, when you block a pitch you should have your bare hand behind your glove because it’s safe and it gives you the best opportunity to block the pitch. When protecting your neck, it’s important to tuck your chin into your body, allowing your mask to cover the area. These two techniques will decrease the risk of injury when blocking a pitch.

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Topics: catching, catching skills, catching fundamentals, catching tips

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