Playing catch is the most important “drill” you will ever run as a coach!
Structured Catch Play is more than just a drill. It’s actually more of an organized, catch-play philosophy, through which a coach can teach as much as he or she wants (or is able to). Playing catch sets the tone for the rest of practice and, ultimately, the rest of the season. This drill DOES what coaches always request: Forces athletes to focus during catch play. It also provides the coach the opportunity to control pace, simultaneously view all athletes, and easily stop the group to coach, insert instruction, or use player examples.
EXECUTION – With athletes in traditional pairs (one on foul line, and one into the outfield), all will throw at same time, in same direction, only on your verbal. This type of structure CREATES athlete focus. Throwers are locked in on a target. Receivers are prepared and in position. This type of group focus allows you to teach. You can see mistakes, address mistakes, use player examples – it allows you to CONTROL the game of catch. Safety is maintained because throws are kept going the same way, and lengthening out happens at same time.
The drill is run with three coaching verbals:
- POP! – On this verbal, throwers move athletically into the loaded, power position. Check for weight back, hands extended, and eyes locked on target.
- CHEST! – On this verbal, receivers move into the athletic ready position (feet outside shoulders, knees slightly bent, thumbs together to force hands in front of chest).
- THROW! – Throwers fire and receivers catch… at least that’s how cleanly it’s supposed to happen. Or whistle
- Broken Movements – This is one of the first opportunities for athletes to truly feel their body position. A “broken movement” or freeze at the power position allows athletes to feel their back leg bearing the majority of the weight. As if ready to explode, we call this a “load.”
- 4:1 Athlete-To-Coach Ratio – Provided you can corral two assistants to be present during catch play, each coach is only responsible for four athletes. That’s TWO pairs of throwers and receivers. Truly an amazing opportunity to teach throwing and enforce a focused game of catch.
- Use Your Help – Use additional friends and family present to roam behind throwing lines and pick up errant throws. DC believes in more reps in less time!
- POP! THROWERS READY (FEET / HANDS / EYES)
- CHEST! RECEIVERS READY (FEET / KNEES / THUMBS TOGETHER)
- THROW! OR WHISTLE
- BROKEN MOVEMENTS... LOAD
- 4:1 ATHLETE-TO-COACH RATIO
- USE YOUR HELP