5 Secrets to Crushing the Ball
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Good catcher instruction is vitally important to any ballclub’s potential success.
Baseball teams that are seeking to play the game well without a catcher that can perform physical duties like throwing, catching and blocking they will struggle to compete and play well.
In addition, the thinking part of the game has to be developed and this part of all about baseball is the job of the baseball coach and proper catcher instruction.
In this baseball article on catching we will be talking about the things that a catcher needs to learn about baseball. Many of the catching points can be practiced in a catchers drill.
Most of the points will need to be shared by aknowledgeable baseball coach or during catcher instruction.
If you want to know how to be a good catcher in baseball then the checklist here will give the catchers position an edge when players are trying to learn about baseball.
The baseball catcher strives to do their best. With essential catcher instruction the catcher…
1. Has a hop in the step or ‘happy feet’, always hustling and bouncing around. Not much worse than a youth league baseball catcher that lollygags around.
2. Backs-up first base at every opportunity for over throws from the infielders.
3. Steps out in front of home plate in the baseball diamond and tells and shows everyone how many outs.
4. Reminds the pitcher to ‘get over there’ on any baseballs hit to the right side of the field.
5. Knows the pop up behind the baseball home plate will spin back towards the playing field.
6. Is ‘in the game’ even though not in the lineup. Always ready to warm up pitchers in the bullpen and between innings.
7. Points and reminds the pitcher to ‘get over there’ when a left handed hitter comes up.
8. Does not play the grandstand. Keeps their head in the game always talking with the pitcher between innings and getting ready to hit.
9. Likes to sit near the pitcher in the dugout to go over adjustments and baseball strategies between innings.
10. Gives a ‘big’ low target to the pitcher.
11. Anticipates a ball in the dirt whenever an off-speed pitch is delivered.
12. Best practice catcher instruction knows to block the ball in the dirt willingly and consistently.
13. Looks to ‘back pick’ all the time at firstbase and secondbase especially.
14. Has catcher signs worked out with the first baseman, secondbaseman, third baseman and shortstop to back pick when runners wander off base too far.
15. Reminds the pitcher to check with the second baseman and shortstop to see who is covering the bag on a comebacker to the pitcher with less than 2 outs.
16. Reminds the infielders to throw across the diamond on a 3-2 count with two outs and a runner on firstbase.
17. Know the pitcher’s best pitch they can throw for a strike at the time.
18. Is cautious to call for a change up on a weak hitter with a slow bat.
19. Knows who the on deck hitter is and the batter in the ‘hole’.
20. Becomes an excellent judge on recognizing a hitter’s ability to hit the pitchers fastball (or not).
21. Always know the tactical situation: the inning, the score, the outs, and the count.
22. Has a good rapport with the home plate umpire. Finds out the umpires name and addressed the umpire by name (NEVER calls the umpires ‘Blue’).
23. Never turns around to face the umpire to talk to them. You can do all your conversation without turning around.
24. Keeps the glove arm well extended out away from the knees so rarely ever gets the elbow tied up with the knees.
25. Gives the pitchers signs where only the second baseman, shortstop and pitcher can see the baseball signs to the pitchers. signs to the pitchers.
26. Knows the opponents top three hitters and whom you want to pitch around.
27. Reminds the middle infielders of a possible ‘delay’ steal.
28. Makes sure hitters keep their eyes ‘forward and not peeking at the catcher’s signs or checking for location prior to the pitch.
29. Blocks the ball with 2 strikes on the hitter with nobody on base.
30. Turns the catcher’s glove hand ¼ turn outward when the pitch is released to help relax the glove hand and eliminate getting 'handcuffed’ on the ball down and inside to the right handed hi
31. Buckles shin guards on the outside of legs. Makes sure chest protector fits snugly and covers most of the lower neck area.
32. Never turns head to the side. Trust the mask even though our instinct is to turn our face away from danger.
33. Has about ½ of the palm of the hand inside the catcher’s glove. Can move the pinky and ring finger both to the last pinkly finger slot to the left of the glove to prevent the index finger and palm from constant pounding.
34. Have a very wide stance and a flat back with runners on base.
35. Is ready to throw to secondbase on a bunt through with a runner on secondbase.
37. Covers third base with runner on firstbase and the thirdbaseman comes in to field the bunt.
38. Does not take their bat out to the field.
39. Enjoys warming up pitchers in the bullpen. No one ever has to come looking for the catcher to warm up the pitchers—always ready and willing.
40. Second catcher or a backup catcher is ready and does not have to be told to warm-up pitchers between innings while the catcher puts their catching gear on. Doesn’t rely on someone hollering.
41. Puts the ball tightly in the bare hand when tagging with two hands on a tag play at the home plate.
42. Steps out in front of the home plate and give the 1st and 3rd defensive baseball signs to the infielders and pitcher prior to the play.
43. ‘Calls’ and points to the base to throw to on bunt plays.
44. Aggressively and quickly gets out in front of the plate on bunt plays to make a play or call the base to have the throws go to.
45. Makes themselves ‘big’ and ‘soft’ squaring up the shoulders while blocking pitches.
46. Best catcher instruction says do not try to ‘catch’ the ball in the dirt unless it is a short hop catch.
47. Very discretely brings the ball a little bit towards the sternum of the chest without fast, jerky, yanking type obvious motions trying to intentionally deceive the umpire.
48. Keeps the holes in the batters box filled between batters to eliminate bad bounces on balls in the dirt.
49. Catcher Instruction knows to get close enough to the batter where an arms length with a glove on can almost touch the batters back shoulder.
50. Tells the pitcher to immediately back track toward the pitching rubber after delivering the pitch and throw the ball back the pitcher quickly to keep the game speed moving along.
There is much about baseball catcher instruction in the checklist. As you can see this is not a baseball position for the kids who do not like action or do not want to work hard.
No one can learn everything here at once. This is a checklist for players and baseball coaches to use during the season to teach baseball.
Use the list as a reference guide to help catcher instruction improve during the seasons.
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