Here are 10 coaching points we teach our catchers.
We will always have at least 4 catchers in our program each year. Two Junior Varsity catchers and 2 varsity catchers make up our catching staff each year. Here are 12 basic things that we teach our catchers to know or do. There are others things but here are the basic 12 we start with.
1. Wear your chest protector loosely. Do not strap it on too tightly. If the chest protector is too tight to the chest, the ball will bounce farther away from the body on a block. A loose fitting chest protector deadens the energy of the ball on impact allowing the ball to fall closer to the plate.
2. With no runners on base, keep the bare had behind your back. With runners on base, depending on the level of play, the catcher may position the bare hand behind the mitt.
3. The correct blocking position requires that you drop immediately to you knees. Learn to drop to block. Kick your feet back from under your body and get the knees on the ground as soon as possible.
4. The correct blocking position has the mitt in a flattened out or vertical position to block the hole under the crotch. The mitt must be flat and vertical to prevent a ball from ramping or deflecting upward off of the mitt.
5. The correct blocking position has the chin tucked, the upper body slightly leaned forward, and the elbows slightly out from the body.
6. The correct blocking position has the bare hand behind the mitt.
7. If you see that pitch is going to be in the dirt assume the blocking body position immediately. Learn to react quickly. Do consider catching it, you job is simply to keep the ball in front.
8. If time allows use a circling or rounding technique to get around the ball and direct it back to the plate. This is possible with slow pitches but is impossible to do with high velocity pitchers. Keeping the shoulders square is the only alternative when your pitcher is throwing the heat.
9. Know how to hide signs when you give them. Keep the legs as close as possible. Keep the sign hand as deep as possible and high enough that the fingers are in the crotch and not visible below. Put your left forearm your left thigh. Turn your arm so your mitt palm is in the hand-shake position off the front of your knee.
10. Establish a good rapport with the umpire. Keep the climate positive around the plate. Should he ask you a question, always respond with a Yes, Sir or No Sir.