How To Be A Good Baseball Catcher In Baseball Training

July 27, 2009

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In baseball training catchers might seem pretty invisible, but in fact, they are crucial members of the baseball team. Most young pitchers, those from about eight to 10 years old, take a stance when they receive the ball that’s much too wide. That happens, of course, because they don’t want the bat to hit them in the head instead of hitting the ball. The proper receiving stance should have the feet spread far part, tail low, with the glove hand as the target, and the bare hand “loose” and the thumb tucked under the fingers.

Something to remember, though, is that if the batter can’t reach the catcher with the bat on the back swing before the pitch happens, he’s not going to touch him when he tries to hit the ball, either. Batters go forward and away from the catcher to make a hit. If the catcher’s just out of reach of the back swing, he’s safe.

He still has to get as close as he can for these reasons, though. If he’s back in extra foot, let’s say, the pitcher, too, has to throw an extra foot. And, the curveball is going to start its break too late. If he stays too far back, the catcher also makes his own job harder because he adds to the distance his throws to the bases have to make.

Oftentimes, beginning pitchers instinctively close their eyes when the batter swings. Sometimes, the catcher is going to turn his head, too. These are natural reactions, but they can be dangerous. The catcher has to keep eyes open, chin down, and he looking straight ahead until the ball is in his glove in order to AVOID getting hurt. The equipment he’s wearing is going to protect him. Oftentimes, young catchers will also react to balls thrown into the dirt. Again, a natural reaction, but he or she must “retrain” the response and drop to his or her knees, put the glove on the ground, and block the ball. Again, the equipment is going to protect the catcher.

When the catcher throws the ball

Of course, catchers also have to throw balls back to the pitcher, too. It’s important to work on this throw to make it work right. As with outfielders, the catcher throws overhand, hand directly behind the ball. The ball shouldn’t curve and if the ball hits the ground, it should have good backspin so that it will bounce sharply and high. The catcher’s job is different from the outfielder’s, though, and therefore he is not going to have enough time to do a full arm swing. Instead, a snap throw is what is required. For the snap throw, the arm should be in the laid-back position for the overhand throw.

The hand is brought down to a point behind the ear instead of holding it directly over the pitching elbow. Then, the catcher steps toward and “snaps” the ball toward the pitcher. This is the same technique a football player uses when he or she throws a spiral forward pass. Throw directly at the base to catch a runner stealing or if throwing to second on the cutoff play, throw directly at the cutoff player’s head.

The first time a baseball catcher does the job, he or she should learn how to throw the ball to the pitcher the right way. A pitcher works hard during his or her own job during a ball game, and therefore shouldn’t have to go after errant throws from the catcher. And that’s not only a bad thing for the pitcher, but it’s also dangerous to the runners on base.

The catcher should throw the ball at the pitcher’s glove shoulder, which is in direct line and just the right height to throw to second base. The throw itself should be nice and evenhanded, neither too soft nor too hard. Again, throw a good evenhanded throw at the glove shoulder. With bases occupied, catchers should always take a look at the runners before returning the ball to the pitcher.

Baseball catching is indeed a central part of the game.


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