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How to Catch a Pop Up

How to Catch a Pop Up

 

The key is we want to make sure that I’m getting my back turned, I’m getting in position, and I’m not rushing after this ball.You can see that we can move the tennis ball around from side to side, I want to make sure that I can attack the ball, always keeping my back to the field and letting the baseball come back to me.I want to make sure that I’m able to keep this 45 degree angle when I’m looking up at the baseball. I want to make sure the ball stays in front of me and I work my way into it. If I get underneath this ball, it’s going to be behind me, because the baseball always comes back to the field of play.

By using a racquetball, you can get the ball as high as any major league popup – you’ll find out how difficult these things actually are to catch! But it will make you an all-around better catcher, it’s going to help you on popups which can be a very embarrassing play. We don’t have baseballs landing in the stands, we don’t have baseballs out in center field, we don’t have to go see an oral surgeon if this goes badly This is a great drill and will help you improve and make you much better on catching popups!

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Baseball Catchers Blocking Drill – Knee Drill

Baseball Catching Blocking Drills

 

            One of the key fundamentals of being a catcher is blocking the ball.  We need to make sure we are in a good position so that we are able to keep the ball in front.  This helps set up double plays.  It keeps the runner from scoring on balls in the dirt.  It gives our pitcher more confidence.

            When I do blocking drills, I like to take them apart; shorten what needs to be done by the catcher so he can build muscle memory of what needs to be done.  I want catchers to just focus on one or two things.  Let me show you.  Right now I am going to get ready.  Casey is going to throw balls at me.  And what I am going to do is just put the glove between my legs.  My bare hand, thumb tucked in behind my glove.

            The focus for this drill is to stay right here and my chin is going to go down.  That is all I do on this drill.

As you can see, all I am doing is staying right there.  My arms aren’t moving.  My glove is filling the hole between my legs.

            There is a next step to this drill.  Let me show you.  What I am going to do is give a target now.  Bare hand is going to be behind the glove.  Thumb still tucked in.  That’s how we protect from getting broken fingers.

            So we are going to focus on glove down, bare hand behind glove, chin to my chest.  Just like that.

            You can see, all I’m doing is coming from here and going down.  The mistake that is going to be made is that most catchers at first will go with their bare hand on the outside.  You can obviously see why this is going to be a problem.

           For these drills I use T-balls.  They bounce a little higher, but you get the same feel.  You get the same work without all the bruises.  Just make sure that it is bare hand behind the glove and down.  Here and down.  It is so important that my chin makes it to my chest.  If it doesn’t, we leave our throat exposed, and catchers can really get hurt.

            Use these drills. Become a more efficient blocker.  Build that muscle memory so when it happens we don’t have to think about it; we react.  Use this drill and become a better catcher.

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The Love and Frustration of Hitting a Baseball

The art of hitting a baseball can become a lifetime love affair.  But at the same time it starts a journey filled with frustration and failure. 

Hitting is often called the most difficult thing to do in all sports.

The challenge of hitting a baseball is what drives so many athletes to spend hours upon hours of practice along with hours of watching games on TV or in person.  This can become an obsession or idol if your have played long enough then you know exactly what I mean. 

Waking in the middle of the night with thoughts about our swing filling our heads, or hitting till our hands bleed only to do it again the next day are aspects of this love affair. 

Always searching for that one thing where we can say I GOT IT or I FIGURED IT OUT.  Only to go 0-3 the next day with three punch outs.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  It’s those good days that keep us wanting more.  The feeling when we hit the ball perfect on the sweet spot.  Much like golf except in golf you hit the ball pure and you’re on the green, in baseball you can hit the ball perfect only to see the centerfielder make the catch without taking a step. 

Even writing this blog stirs emotions of those sleepless nights and frustration over O’fers. 

The funny thing about baseball is that we tend to focus on the negative, not the hit that you did have but the three you didn’t get.  That is why we must focus on the things we can control.  Your approach or plan and how you executed those. 

Did you stay in the moment? 

The practice of one pitch at a time! 

The pitcher needs to execute three pitches to beat us where we as a hitter only need to execute on one pitch.    

How we handle the mental side of the game will make a huge difference in the success we have as well as how much we enjoy this wonderful frustrating game.

Enjoy the beginning of your lifetime love affair with hitting.

 

Until Next Time,

Chad

Baseball Hitting Timing Drill

Baseball Hitting Drills For Timing

 

Rhythm and timing are so important to a hitter. For a hitter to get loaded, we need him to get back.  We need to him to be in a good position.  The timing of that, and when does it take place.

I have a drill that can help with that.  It can take place in a cage or on a field, like we are right now.  But the idea behind the drill is that I am going to load back.  As I go back, Coach Casey is going to toss a ball into the air.  From here I’m going to drive down through the ball.  It’s really important that I get a good load, that I get behind this ball because you will see, as the drill goes on, the speeds will change.  Much like they do in a game.

So, let me show you what this is going to look like.

BALL HIT

That simulated a fastball with his toss.  They are down and away.  He’s not going too high with it.  I’m loading as his hand goes down.

BALL HIT

You could see that he tossed the ball a little higher right there.  That would simulate a change up.  As time goes on and you get better at this drill, you mix it up.

Kind of like what the pitcher does to you during the game.  Let’s take a look at a few more.

BALL HIT

That would have simulated a fastball.  The toss was low.  I got back in time.  I’m in position, and I’m driving down.  Let me show you what it looks like when you don’t know what’s coming.

BALL HIT

You could see that was a change up.  The toss was higher.  I have to be ready for the fastball still, and how I’m going to drive down at the ball, depending on the pitch.  It is so important that we get back behind the ball and be in a position to always hit the fastball number one, and we can react to a change up.

Let’s take a look at another.

BALL HIT

The lower pitch was the fastball.  We got to be back in time.  We got to be in position to hit the fastball every time.

Use this drill.  It’s a fantastic timing drill.  Tony Gwynn swore by it.  It saved seasons for me.  Use the timing drill.  It’s going to help you become a more complete hitter.

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Game Calling

Most important– Get the most out of your pitcher on that given day

 Who is your Pitcher?

  1. Strength

              -What does your pitcher do best?

              -Don’t ask him to do something that you don’t think he can do.

  1. Weakness

              -When does he struggle?

              -When he makes mistakes what are they.

  1. Repertoire

              -What can he throw for strikes in a tight spot?

              -Is there a swing and miss pitch?

  1. Pitch count

 

Who is the Hitter?

  1. Strengths

                 -What type of hitter is he?

                 -What does he like to hit?

  1. Weaknesses

               -What does he struggle to hit?

               -Where are his holes?

  1. What does he want to do in this situation

              -What does the situation call for the hitter to do?

What is the situation in Game?

  1. Ahead

               -By one run, two runs or three runs

               -Can a grand slam beat you

  1. Behind
  1. Inning

                 -Don’t want to get beat inside late in the game

                 -Can take more chance early in game

Where is the Defense playing?

  1. Where do you want him to hit it
  2. Don’t call pitches against the defense
  3. What is the hitter trying to do

                 -Move the runner

  1. Man on first

                 -Wants to hit the three hole

        2.    Man on second-

                  -Wants to hit ball to the right side

         3.    Man on third

              -Trying to get ball in the air or up middle

                           -Pitching inside at this point can work, week ground ball

              -With infield in

                    -Batter wants to get ball in the air

             -With infield back

              -Batter want to hit ground ball to middle of field

 

These are just a few of the things that should go through the catcher’s head while calling the game.  I will continue this at later date. Remember a fastball down and away is always a good pitch.  Get the at bat over as quick as you can with the fewest pitches used. 

Until Next Time,

Chad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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