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Advanced Catchers Blocking Drill

Advanced Catchers Blocking Drill (Don’t Let Me hit You in the Face)

 

 

It’s so important for us as catchers to block the ball.  To give the pitcher confidence! To give the coach or manager confidence!  That we are going to keep the ball in front.  Keep the double play in order.  That run is not going to score from third.

When we do the dropping drills if the catcher knows the ball is going into the dirt, its not really all that difficult to get down in front of it.

We need to raise the level of difficulty.  Coach Casey is going to throw balls at me.  Some of these are going to be in the air.  Some of these are going to be in the dirt.  There will be some strikes and I will catch them.  There will be some in the dirt and I will come down to block.

I’m still going to do the drill, but I am going to do it from my knees.  I’m eliminating the part where I’m dropping to my knees and just set up.  I’m going down or I’m staying right there and catching it.  You’ll see why I say, “Don’t let it hit you in the face.”

You can see, I have to react to the ball.  I can’t automatically go down.  I can’t just anticipate what it’s going to be.  You start adjusting and you are going to get hit in the face or the shoulder.

This raises the level of difficulty.  This is going to make you a more efficient blocker of the ball because, lets be honest, we don’t know when the pitcher is going to throw one in the dirt.  We’ve got to be ready all the time.  To become a more efficient blocker, use these drills.  Get down there and don’t let me hit you in the face.

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Catcher’s Set Up – Distance to Hitter

A Catchers Set Up Position in Relation to the Hitter

 

So my teammate Carlos Lee with the Milwaukee Brewers did something I’ve never seen happen and you probably won’t see it happen again. He took a swing, came all the way through, he actually hit the umpire with his back swing. I know, the umpire right. Catchers get hit every so often but the umpire really. Yeah he hit the umpire right in the shoulder, caught him right in the side with a back swing.

So today i want to talk about how far back the catcher setup should be from the hitter. This simple answer is as close as we can be without getting hit. Well what is that distance. If your in the crouch you should be able to reach out and almost touch the hitter’s back knee. If your standing up we should almost be able to reach out and almost touch the hitter’s back elbow. Now understand, this is not a guaranteed way to avoid catcher’s interference. But it is a general guideline that you can follow.

We want to be as close as we can without getting hit. The reason is when were set up, the deeper we back up, the lower I’m going to end up catching this pitch. Like it or not, the umpires call pitches based on how the catcher catches them. They’ll tell you it’s where it crosses the plate. The reality is how the catcher makes it look. So the closer we can get to the home plate, the higher we can hold a low pitch. If we have to scoot up further and further back, were now going to catch that same pitch down here that we would of caught up here before. This is always dictated though by the hitter. You must know your hitter. Like I talked about Carlos Lee. If he’s going to hit you on a back swing, you better back up a little bit.

As a matter of fact, Carl Crawford actually got me twice on catcher’s interference. You asked, what’s catcher’s interference? It’s where you get a little too close. You get your hand out there a little too far. Got me on his swing. Came down right on top of my glove. It’s really and embarrassing play for a catcher. Because number one, no one else knows what happens except the batter’s talking. He’s pointing at me. He’s going to first. I get an error on the play. I know. I get hit on the hand, possibly break a hand and he gets to go to first. And I get an error. So we need to find what that distance is. How far back? We want to be as close as we can without getting hit. So find your distance behind the hitter. This tip will help you stay safe behind the dish.

 

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