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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.