The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Jan 26, 2015 6:00:00 AM

The Significance of Good Catchers to Baseball Team Defense

Next to the pitcher, the second most significant player on the field is - you guessed it - the catcher. This is not to say that every defensive player is not important. However, it is simple - without a guy behind the plate that can catch, the game is very difficult to play and have success as a team.

In an earlier blog pertaining to catching, I spoke of the lack of ability of catchers to simply catch the baseball and that there was a great de-emphasis on this discipline; or that the receiving of a pitched ball was an area that has fallen secondary to that of trying to throw runners out stealing.

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Topics: defence, team Defence, defensive baseball, catching, catching skills, catching fundamentals, baseball team defense, team defense, Defense

Kevin Hussey | Nov 19, 2014 1:24:03 PM

4 Opponent Tendencies That Catchers Can Look For

Being a catcher is a difficult task for any young baseball player. It’s important to be able to learn from your surroundings and pick up on certain subtleties that your opponent may accidently show you. Learning the different ways an opponent can give you information is crucial for any catcher trying to gain an edge on an opponent. Catcher is the only position that can see the whole field and can adjust the game accordingly with the information that’s been given.

Here are 4 areas to be aware of in a game:

1 - Reading Coaching Tendencies

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Topics: baserunning, lead offs, catching, catching skills, catching fundamentals, coaching signs, opponent tendencies

Rick Johnston | Oct 23, 2013 10:28:00 AM

20 Baseball Pet Peeves Courtesy of Our (Usually) Beloved Catchers

Ok catchers, it’s your turn...that’s right; you inspire just as many Pet Peeves as the other position players!

As I continue on with some Pet Peeves shared by myself and other baseball coaches, it is now time to reach out to the leaders on the field, the only players on defence that play in foul territory, the defensive players who are supposed to be the field generals...the catchers. Yes, that’s right, the ones that are to lead by example & take ownership with the pitcher. Well, guess what guys? As much praise as you get for being these types of players, you do inspire a number of baseball Pet Peeves that drive coaches up the wall and some of these Pet Peeves are simply unwise and unproductive as far as your own development behind the plate. In addition, these Pet Peeves can have a major influence on the outcomes of games - therefore, it is critical you all take note to these and minimize any that you know can be controlled:

1.Walking to and from your position...my lord, you are only talking about 60-75 feet from the dugout. In some cases, the distance might be less. In any event, if you can’t sprint to the plate and always beat the pitcher (unless on base when inning ends or on deck), then there is a major problem. Hey, have you ever heard the word hustle? Well that goes for you catchers as well. You are not special; you do not get special hall passes; you are part of the team and that means hustle on and off the field. Because your distance is the closest (corner positions could be just as close), you had better be one of the first three position players to get to and from your position every start and end of inning.

2.Holding the frame...

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Topics: baseball coaching, baseball pet peeves, catching, catching skills, catching fundamentals

Rick Johnston | Jul 26, 2013 9:50:00 AM

8 Helpful Tips for Catchers Calling a Simple Game Behind the Dish

Catching: Calling a Simple Game

Let’s face it - a good catcher makes a better pitcher. A good catcher, who knows how to call a good game, can make average and good pitchers, great pitchers. 

Catchers have many characteristics that stand out from the way they catch and throw to the way they block and control the game as defensive leaders on the inner diamond. However, there is almost no greater characteristic a catcher can exhibit than his ability to call a good game. Hey, look around professional baseball. It is safe to say catching is one of the oldest positions by age. Those younger catchers may have the energy, physicality and overall skill that will jump out at most, but the older catcher is usually the wiser catcher and exhibits traits that go well beyond catch, throw, block and hit.

  • So just where does the catcher become the primary source of information for the pitcher? It begins with every new count, 0-0. It is critical the catcher calls the pitch that the pitcher is throwing most consistently for strikes. The pitcher must start the hitter out by getting ahead in the count. The probability of the catcher calling for a fastball is usually about 70%. 
  • If the pitcher falls behind in the count, it is now up to the catcher to bring that ship back to a neutral count and that usually means staying with the pitcher's best pitch or the pitch that is most consistently in the strike zone.

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Topics: baseball strategy, baseball coaching, catching skills, catching tips

Rick Johnston | May 16, 2013 6:17:00 PM

Where Have Catching Fundamentals & The Good Catchers Gone?

Where are all the good catchers (of the baseball)?

Infielders take routine ground ball after ground ball working on angles, hops and reads. Outfielders chase down fly ball after fly ball working on simple routes and angles. Pitchers throw bullpen after bullpen to as they try to sharpen their command of one or more pitches. But what do catchers do? They catch for pitchers in the bullpen and usually follow the coach's order to get loose and assist the pitcher in getting his work in. Well, if this game is built around preparation, then where is the prep drudgery for the catcher? After all, it is pretty tough to play baseball without a catcher…that’s right a catcher. A player, possibly nuts to say the least, who squats behind the plate over a 100 times a game, donned in protective gear, preparing to receive some unknown pitch being thrown in his direction at speeds approaching 100 mph. 

Catching fundamentals are complex to say the least and achievement to any degree of excellence demands the mastering the simple ability to catch a pitched baseball. At younger ages, it is alarming the lack of emphasis being placed on catching a baseball. Instead, the emphasis is put on these young catchers to throw runners out or take charge on the field as the field general, because every book says the catcher must do so. Where is the emphasis on the simple skill of receiving or just catching the ball?

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Topics: baseball instruction, baseball fundamentals, catching, catching drills, catching skills, catching fundamentals

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