LESSON #1 – THROWING
Dugout Captain’s How to Coach – Catching #1 is led by Brent Mayne. Coach Mayne is a 15-year MLB veteran, author of the book The Art of Catching, and an advanced scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This series is designed to provide an instructional foundation that you can use to work with your own athletes. Coach Mayne packs loads of instruction into the videos, so work hard to break it down to teachable chunks. It is included here in outline format:
PART I – STANDING CATCH
1. Grip & Target (3 mins) – Play catch and establish the first two rules to throwing for catchers:
- 4-Seam Grip – Straightest path, most power, and easiest to control.
- Target = Head – Establish the proper release point (“groove line” as Coach Mayne calls it), by always aiming at your partner’s head
2. Receiving (5 mins) – Continue to play standing catch and add instruction specific to catching, or receiving, the baseball:
- Hot Spot – This refers to the space between the glove-hand thumb and index finger. This “hot spot” literally catches the ball.
- Elbow Below Glove – Work to keep the glove arm elbow BELOW the glove. This means the legs and chest move to center the baseball, allowing for the elbow to remain below the glove and the Hot Spot to receive the ball.
3. TRANSITION (5 mins) – The third step in Lesson #1, the transition is also called the transfer – the movement taking the ball from the glove and moving it back into the cocked, throwing position. Coach Mayne refers to this path as the ‘arm arc.’ There are two simple rules to instill when talking about the transition:
- Center the Baseball – Catch the ball in front of the chest
- Glove Stays Center – As the body turns and the throwing hand moves back behind the head, the glove stays out in front of the body. Glove doesn’t cross the midline, or center of the athlete chest.
4. Footwork (5 mins) – The final step to standing catch is adding footwork. Keep in mind that the athlete should now be using a four-seam grip, aiming at the head, receiving the ball into the hot spot with the elbow below the glove, and then transitioning to the throwing position without taking the glove across the chest (simple enough!). That accomplished, introduce proper throwing footwork:
- Establish Right / Left / Throw – Stay square to target to receive (this will change later), then work proper footwork.
- Work to Surround (**advanced**) – When appropriate, introduce the idea of “getting aroung the baseball”. Surround the ball as a shortshop would turning two.
PART II – QUICK REPS
Toss the baseball and have the athlete catch and pop to the athletic throwing position. The body should work around the baseball, the glove catch in the hot spot (listen for a ‘pop’), then stay out in front (towards you as catch partner) as the hand raises with a four-seam grip. On a verbal, have the athlete rock back and fire towards your head!
- Catch Play Target is the Head – Establishes muscle-memory with consistent trajectory of throw down to second base.
- Receive with Movement – Surround the baseball to catch on the right side of the body. This is cutting edge instruction / method of athletically catching and releasing the baseball as quickly as possible. Start initially with R / L / Throw rhythm, but look to surround the baseball and receive as early as possible.
- Keep it Simple – There is a lot of information here, but much of it is fairly consistent with general baseball fundamentals: Catch the ball in front of the chest, use a four-seam grip, focus on a target. Avoid any catcher stances and focus this lesson on “throwing.”
- Ball Toss – Practice “getting to” a four-seam grip while watching TV or around the house. Toss the ball up in the air, catch and get into the throwing hand with a four-seam grip as quickly as possible.
- Focused Game of Catch – Catch play is now much more important to the aspiring catcher. Instill into your athlete the responsibility to play a focused game of catch. Take the right foot to the ball and work to surround the catch. Keep the throwing target locked on partner’s head.
- STANDING CATCH - GRIP & TARGET
- CATCH PLAY TARGET = HEAD
- RECEIVE WITH MOVEMENT
- KEEP IT SIMPLE
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