The Baseball Catcher position is one position in baseball that coaches seem to devote less of their time to during practice,particularly because most coaches do not have a lot of knowledge about the position ,therefore they don’t know what type of practice methods to implement to improve at this position ,which results in a minimum number of quality catchers being produced at all levels of the game.
This position is#2 in the score keeping system, is the toughest position in Baseball,yet the most important position along with the pitcher.Reasons for being a tough position is that you must squat down and get back up numerous times during a game,therefore he must be strong and durable.A Catcher also must be able to stand up to an occasional collision at home plate from a charging runner.
Since it can be dangerous behind home plate a baseball catcher wears protective gear (catchers gear),such as a catchers mask,catchers helmet,catchers chest protector,throat protector,catchers shin guards,and a cup in order to minimize potential injuries.Although,wearing all the protective gear,catchers may still get hit by foul balls.A good catcher can’t let any of this bother him because he has to be aware of what’s happening in the game at all times.
Duties of the Baseball Catcher
While playing this position you have quite a bit of responsibilities and duties during a baseball game.First of all he must “call” the game for the pitcher.That means,he tells the pitcher what kind of pitch to throw by signaling him with his non-gloved hand.When a runner is on second base the sending of signals can get a bit more complicated ,due to the runner being able to see the catchers hand.In a situation like this a pitcher and catcher might implement a optional signal code.For example the catcher may touch a certain part of his chest protector for a specific pitch. In order to send a signal correctly the catcher must know the batting habits of each individual hitter.For instance,if a certain hitter likes to hit low pitches,the catcher will signal for pitches that are near the top of the strike zone.If a hitter can be fooled by the change-up pitch, fastball,curve ball,inside or any other pitch,then the catcher must know how to set the hitter up for that specific pitch.The catcher must always give the pitcher a strong target with his glove.The glove shows the pitcher where he should throw the ball.If the pitcher throws a short pitch or a wild pitch the catcher must use what is called “blocking the ball”,to keep base runners from advancing or possibly scoring.
You must also be able to move out of the squatting position quickly,meaning he must be quick enough to jump out from behind the plate to field bunts or rushing out to field a short hit,as the catcher bounces up,he must already be striding toward the base.The throw must be quick because every second is important in this situation.If a hitter hits a foul ball the catcher should immediately stand up,remove his mask,locate the pop-up,then catch the ball using a two handed catch,and quickly locate the base runners,if there is any.
During cutoffs,relays,and plays at home the catcher has the entire field in front of him,therefore the catcher has a greater line of vision when it comes to setting up and aligning the throw to home plate.Since the baseball catcher is positioned behind home plate,this makes a catcher’s position the best position to direct or lead the other team players during a defensive play.
A baseball catcher must have a strong and quick arm.If a runner tries to steal a base,the catcher must spring up from his squatting position and fire to whatever base the runner may be attempting to steal. The catcher also must remind his fielders when there are one or two outs.He must make sure they know where to throw the ball in a certain game situation. The baseball catcher is almost like having a coach on the field.
Characteristics of a Baseball Catcher
- Catching is not for everyone. It takes a special person to play and love this position.
- Toughness—never show pain. If a player sees you get hit with a ball and you show no emotion,that player will think highly of you.If you hold your arm or let someone know that you are hurt,then your teammates will not look at you as their leader.Your toughness can excite a player and make them play harder and tougher also.
- Play the catching position like a shortstop,quick and agile. Nobody wants a catcher that is slow and drags around.
- Be a leader.
- Be the hardest worker at everything. Sprints,base running,drills,and during games.
- A GOOD PLAYER ONLY HAS TO BE TOLD ONCE.
Additional Baseball Catcher Info
The Baseball Catcher position and the responsibilities that it carries may seem a bit overwhelming,especially if you are just starting out,but with practice,determination,and a strong will to learn you can and will become a better Catcher.There is also some catchers training videos that will help you get things right behind the plate and improve your catching skills.The one I personally recommend is called Simplicity of Catching , from Patrick Jernigan. Patrick’s training video covers every aspect involved in playing the catcher position.The material in the Simplicity of Catching DVD is full of tips and techniques. Patrick’s catcher training video is guaranteed to improve your skills and techniques to achieve the tasks needed to be a better defensive Baseball Catcher.
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