Leads & Breaks – Catcher Throws is run at the end of practice during the Baserunning segment. It involves sprint work infused with leadoff fundamentals, as well as the practice of reading pitchers and working on steal breaks. Be sure to coach and introduce and run the drill Fundamentals: Leadoffs before this drill.
EXECUTION – Baserunners are organized into two or three lines at first base. Use the bag itelf and one to two extra cones up the first base foul line. Each play, the first athlete in line will execute a proper leadoff assuming the steal-sign is on. A pitcher (or coach acting as pitcher) will toe the rubber and walk through all progression steps of taking the mound (straddle, step-on, look-in, come set… and deliver a pitch). The catcher, in full gear, will catch and throw through to second base. Finally, a middle infielder (or another coach) will receive throws and return the baseball to the pitcher.
Coach’s Note: For safety purposes, baserunners should all veer right (towards center field) and run through the bag. No sliding.
Leadoff Fundamentals reviewed:
- Start – Two heels on the base (cone), eyes on pitcher.
- Left – Left foot steps out comfortably.
- Right – Right foot follows so that athlete chest turns and faces the pitcher.
- Connect-Step #1 – Left foot connects to right foot, then right foot steps out.
- Connect-Step #2 – Left foot connects to right foot, then right foot steps out.
Athletes should be in an athletic baserunners posture (feet outside shoulder, knees bent, arms relaxed). The steal sign is on… athletes should break on the pitcher’s leg lift.
- No Pickoffs Early – Let your catchers throw and keep the drill moving along.
- No Sliding – Safety first. Focus on reading pitchers / steal breaks at first, and catcher pop times.
- Pop Time – Measured as the time from ball in catcher’s glove to ball to infielders glove, this is the objective scouting measurement used by scouts to compare catchers. A good college or professional pop time is sub 2.0 seconds. High school is approximately 2.0-2.25. And adjusted by age and field size appropriately.
- 2-3 LINES @ FIRST BASE
- CATCHERS IN FULL GEAR
- BE QUICK, DON'T HURRY
- NO PICKOFFS EARLY IN DRILL
- NO SLIDING
- POP TIME
- Catcher's Gear1
- Baseball Buckets1