This catchers drill is a fundamental drill for the entire team to work through. Although organized and offered under the category of Catching, this drill helps all athletes with receiving as well as a knowledge and understanding of the game. Follow up this drill and train catchers with DC’s How to Coach: Catching Series. 15-year MLB veteran Brent Mayne guides the coach through a series of drills to develop your own catchers!
EXECUTION – Begin Fundamentals: Catching with each athlete at an individual cone for group discussion. Describe the basic instruction points for receiving the baseball at the catcher position and then follow by moving into repetitions. These are carried out from a standing position, highlighting three key execution points, and then athletes will return to the individual cones. Offer a second discussion around squat / stance detail, and then finish with more repetitions involving a catcher’s squat
PART I – STANDING TEACHING POINTS
- Glove Centered – Move to the ball to receive in front of the chest.
- Fingers Up (“To Sky”) – Maintains a position of strength with the elbow below the glove.
- R / L / Throw (POP) – Footwork after receiving follows a right, left, throw rhythm.
STANDING REPETITIONS – Athletes move forward to a home plate (with two cones behind it as guide markers for the feet). Coach tosses 3 baseballs to each athlete with the assignment to center the catch, keep the glove in a strong position, and then use proper footwork to return the throw.
PART II – SQUAT / STANCE TEACHING POINTS
- Straight Back / “Chest Up” – Stay tall or ‘stacked’ with the upper body
- Glove Centered, Fingers up – Similar to standing, provide a solid target.
- Elbow Relaxed – Forearm rests on thigh/knee
- Throwing Hand Tucked – Tuck the hand behind the leg to protect against foul tips.
SQUATTING REPETITIONS – Athletes move forward to a home plate. With coaching support and guidance, athletes are to drop into the “comfort” stance (used with no runners on and less than two strikes on the batter). Once adjusted to a sound catcher’s stance, coach tosses 3 baseballs to each athlete.
- Chest Up = “Stacked” – This concept of stacked keeps a catcher athletic. The head is balanced and the body stacked (head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over legs/feet).
- Soft Elbow vs. Arm Bar – Young catchers have tendency to reach out to the baseball, both when giving a target and when catching the ball. Remind athletes they are receiving the pitch. Relax the arm and bring the glove back in front of the chest.
- POP! – Footwork movements are essentially a slow ‘POP’. Gets faster.
CLOSING – The inner game surrounding stolen bases is very interesting. Simply put, there are two variables coaches consider when weighing the chances of stealing a base. If either time is long, meaning the defense is slow, then it’s time to run!
- Pitcher’s Release Time – Pitcher’s are measured from their first movement (leg lift after coming stretch)… until the ball is caught by the catcher. A goal for high school pitchers is below 1.5 seconds, and below 1.3 seconds for college and professional pitchers.
- Catcher’s “Pop Time” – Catcher’s are measured from time the pitch hits their glove… until the ball is caught by the middle infielder at second base. Sub 2.0 seconds is commonly referred to as the goal for HS and beyond, although most big league catcher’s are creeping well below that mark.
Offensive base coaches are constantly taking times to see if they have the advantage in sending a runner. Fun stuff. Take out your stopwatch and start timing that 11 year old!
- GROUP DISCUSSION
- STANDING REPS
- GROUP DISCUSSION #2
- SQUATING REPS
- CHEST UP = STACKED
- SOFT ELBOW vs. ARM BAR
- Baseball Buckets1