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Catching

Baseball Catcher Instruction on video by Chad Moeller, the online leader in catcher instruction and baseball catching drills.



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Catcher Stance – Giving Baseball Signs

Giving Baseball Signs to the Pitcher

 

Giving Baseball Signs To The PitcherAll sports have they’re different stances. Golfers stand over the ball like this. Tennis player kind of bend they’re knees in an athletic stance. Football players, the quarterback’s under center in his own little special stance, lineman even get down to a three point stance. Baseball players tend to stay in an athletic stance with their glove out in front of them, but catcher’s, us catcher’s, we get stances all our own. In fact we have three different stances.

 

Today’s lesson, we’re going to talk about our catchers stance to give signs. What we want to do, we come down, we’re on our toes, we’re set up high, our chest is up. By bringing our heels apart, it brings our knees together. Our knees keep our third base coach and first base coach from seeing our signs, because our signs are for our team, not for everybody else. Our glove is going to cover our left knee. So we’re here, this blocks the third base coach, our knee blocks the first base coach. The only people we want to know what we’re throwing, is the pitcher and our middle infielders out there.

 

So our sign’s going to be up against our cup. We’re going to be directly down with our signs. We don’t want them forward, we don’t want them backward, we don’t want them too low. We want our pitcher to see them. We want our middle infielders to see them. We don’t want everybody in the stands to know what’s coming. It’s for our knowledge, not there’s. We’re trying to get them out, just like they’re trying to do to us. So next time you’re behind the plate, close up your knees, hold that sign right up here and have a great game.

 

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Catcher Blocking Drills

Catcher Blocking Drills

 

These catcher blocking drills will help you to be a complete player.  So you want to find out who wants to be a catcher? A lot of guys think it’s cool to put the gear on, maybe flash a few signs. Some even may want to try to throw to second base. But if you want to find out who actually really wants to catch, start blocking. Blocking for a catcher is one of the major fundamentals. It’s not normal to jump in front of a ball in the dirt. These baseballs hurt and we must jump in front of them. If you’re not willing to jump in front of these balls, this position’s not for you. Are you willing to jump in front of a ball over here in the dirt, have it go off your forearm and then on the next pitch do it again? That’s a question you better ask yourself before you start catching because this is a major part of our game.

So how do we do it? Blocking always takes place from our stance with a runner on base. So we’re up off our calves, we give a good target. There’s two ways that we want to block. One, were going to drop straight down forward onto our knees. From here, our chest is over the ball, our chin is always down to our chest, our glove fills this hole between our legs and our bare hand, still closed around our finger, is tucked underneath. This is the position we want to find ourselves in. Now here’s where you get hurt. When we drop down and our head comes up, our throat is exposed. This is where it can become dangerous. We always want to have our chin down.

The other part we have to be careful of when we’re blocking is that our hands come up. As a baseball player, were always taught to field a ball with our gloves, but as a catcher, we drop, we want to field it with our chest. If our hands come up we leave a wide open hole between our legs. Now that’s embarrassing. We get a ball go between our legs. We’ve done everything right. We got down to the ground. We’re ready to block it and then it went between our legs. That cannot happen. So fill that gap between your legs.

Here’s the other choice. I just showed you the fall forward here. The other technique that’s used is called the kickback. This was actually the technique I used most of my career. I felt I could read the ball a little bit longer. Here’s what it looks like. We’re up in our stance and my knees are basically going to replace my feet. So from here I’m down and that’s it right there. So from that stance we can cover the ball a little bit better. Let me show you again what it looks like. Our feet are out. Our glove’s behind and we’re down. Our chest is automatically over. That’s what I like about this stance and blocking with the kickback technique is it always kept my chest over the ball. My chin was always down to my chest and I could read the ball a little bit longer. So the next time you get behind home plate and you’re going to block, figure out which technique. But no matter what don’t let that ball get by.

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Bunt Coverages

How Catchers Handle Bunt Coverage and Bunt Defense

 

Fielding Bunts

You ever really want to upset your coach. I know a sure fire way to do that. Take an out that the other team’s given you and don’t get it. That’s right were going to talk about sacrifice bunts and how we field them. This is a fundamental that catchers have to be able to do. And if you, like I said, if you want to set off a coach, let the other team sacrifice bunt and don’t get an out. Most mistakes are made because of lack of concentration when it comes to fielding bunts.

Here’s what we want to do. First off we want to make sure. We’ll set the ball up here. When it’s up the third base line, we want to make sure we get around this ball. From here we can than come and fire to first. Let me show you that again. When we’re coming toward the ball, this is always a two hand process. We’re not talking about somebody that’s really fast, we’re just talking about getting an out when their giving it to us. We need to use a two hand technique. Think of it as a broom and a dust pan. Alright here we go. Two hands together, shuffle and move through your base.

A lot of the mistakes are always made because number one, we try a pick it up bare handed and we fumble the ball. That’s why we want to have two hands together. This area in here will get chewed up as the baseball game goes on. So we want to take two hands together. Once we fielded it, we step beyond, we turn. Carry your momentum towards first base. We don’t want to be throwing a baseball to first base and falling backwards. I call that end of the line throwing. We want to make sure we follow our throw.

The bunt up the middle, kind of towards the pitcher, we want to attack this one with a slight bow, two hands together, shuffle our feet and deliver a strong throw. The only thing different on our bunt towards first base, is that when we attack this ball, we’re pretty direct. Two hands together. We need to shuffle inside. This creates a line for us to make our throw to first base. If we don’t take that shuffle inside, there’s a real good chance we’re going to put it right in that runner’s back. Not a good feeling for him. Not a good feeling for you, because we need to get an out when the other team gives us one. So the next time you’re behind home plate and your fielding a bunt, use this tip. Be smarter. Make a good throw the next time you’re behind the dish.

Baseball Catcher Throwing Drills

Baseball Catcher Throwing Drills – The Exchange

 

So I’m going to guess you’ve never spent much time thinking about how to actually take a ball out of your glove. To be honest I didn’t think about it a whole lot either, until I realized that it was actually hurting my throws to second base. So I want to talk about with you right know is catcher throwing drills. The exchange is how the catcher takes the ball out of his glove. This can add or take away time. This can cause balls to drop on the ground.

Every time a ball drops on the ground we have no chance to make a throw to second base. Every time we get a bad grip, which will happen plenty, our chances of throwing a guy out at second base is even slimmer. So we want to give ourselves the best chance to succeed. So we’re in our good stance, with a man on base. From here we want to turn the glove towards us after we catch it. The glove turns towards us. We basically say hello to the ball. It turns towards us. We then can take the ball up and out as quick as possible.

Problems happen when we make the catch and we turn to the side. Now you can see how I’ve gotten ahead of my arm. The ball’s behind me and my body weight’s forward. When this happens, I get down on the side. My ball’s always going to tail. It’s going to sink a lot. The other thing that happens is when I make my exchange here, as you can see my hands going into the glove this way, I don’t have anything behind it. I have a better chance at a bobble coming out of there. That’s why, when I make this exchange, I want the glove turned towards me. I got something behind it. I can grip this ball. I want to grab a four seam grip if I have any chance. Not saying you will each time. But if we can, we want a four seam grip right across that horseshoe.

Understand, you will throw balls to second base with a split, sometimes like a change-up. All I can tell you is aim low. When you aim low you always have a chance. The throws up high, he’s always going to be safe. So the next time you’re behind the dish, make that clean exchange. Say hello to the ball. I mean it. Say hello to it. Turn that glove right here. It’s quick. And give yourself a chance. Throw that guy out from behind the dish.

 

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Catcher Throwing to Second

Catcher Throwing to Second Base

 

So for catchers, one of our most exciting plays is when we know the guy on first base is going to run and we will be throwing to second. We feel like it’s one on one. Him against us and there’s not a better feeling when we throw him out. We see him walking back maybe even arguing with the umpire, but he got in there somehow. But we stand here all proud, maybe even a little prideful. Look at what I just did. I just threw him out. He’s walking off. He’s upset and we’re kind of digging ourselves.

The reality is, it had very little to do with us and had mainly to do with the pitcher, giving us a good time to home plate. By that I mean if a pitcher lifts his leg up real high before delivering a ball, the catcher’s not going to have a lot of time to make a throw. Now if the pitcher’s quick, we got all the time in the world to make a throw. That’s why I always believe it’s kind of on unfair measuring stick when they talk about catches making throws to second base. It’s not really fair when it’s caught stealing is measured against the catcher, because most of it has to do with the pitcher.

So how do with do this. How do we make a consistent throw each time to second base. Here’s what we want to do. From our stance with somebody on, our right foot’s staggered just slightly. We don’t want to get turned too far, because we still have to be ready to catch and block a pitch on this side of our body. Because remember, we always want to catch the ball first, be ready to block second and then make a throw third. So were in our stance. We’re ready to go. We’re going to receive the ball. From here we’re going to take, like we’ve already talked about, we make the quick clean exchange. The glove turns towards us. Always wants to turn towards us. This is something that needs to be practiced. Our right foot is going to take a short jab step and we’re going to come up square to second base.

Here’s what I’d like to think of. It’s basically a T. We’re basically going to follow a T. So we have our T right here. Our right foot is going to come to the middle as short as we possibly can. The longer this step is, the longer this steps going to be. The longer we’re stepping, it’s more time that’s being wasted before we can put a baseball in the air. So the quicker we can get our right foot up and down, the quicker we can throw a ball, because it’s always about accuracy, then quickness, then velocity. Here we go. So we turn the glove towards us and we’re in position. The quicker we can do it. The quicker we can get the ball in the air, the better chance we have of being successful throwing someone out.

There’s a couple other techniques that are used. This one I just talked about, follow the T. We’re basically just taking a short jab step with our right foot, getting our left foot in line. Another popular technique is the jump turn. My problem with the jump turn is we don’t gain any ground towards second base and I want my momentum going towards second base. Here’s what the jump turn looks like. We catch the ball and we just jump and turn. Kind of like the name says. Like I said, my problem is I don’t gain any ground. That’s why I like follow the T.

The third technique, is the turn and throw. Not used nearly as much as it used to, outside of pitches that really take us out to the side. When we have a pitch take us all the way out here, here’s what it might look like. We turn, we catch, we come up and we just throw from here. If you’re going to do that, make sure you load up on that back leg and you get your front shoulder closed towards second base. If we get out too far in front, our arm’s left behind. Anytime our arm gets left behind, we get on the side of the ball. The ball sinks and we don’t gain our velocity.

I honestly prefer the follow the T. It’s the quickest. It gets momentum and it’s what’s used most often in the major leagues. So from here we may our quick exchange and we’re ready to go. So the next time you’re behind home plate and he’s trying to get a good jump on you, follow the T. Make a strong throw the next time you’re behind the dish.

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