Baseball: Drills for Catchers
There is not even a need for a catcher in T-ball, and in machine-pitch leagues the main purpose of the position is simply to get a kid used to wearing the chest protector, knee guards and mask – the infamous “tools of ignorance” as the catchers' gear has become fondly known.
But as your child begins to move into kid-pitch, Little League and beyond, the position becomes one of the most important on the field. The catcher is expected to handle the entire pitching staff, know the opposing batters and position his teammates on the diamond. More catchers go on to become managers than any other position.
It's a tough position to learn, and an even tougher one to succeed at. Below are some ideas that youth baseball coaches can use to hone the skills of young backstops.
Reacting to a pop-up can be one of the toughest skills to master for a young catcher. Reacting to the play, getting the gear off in time and following the path of the ball can be a lot for a young catcher to master.
The following drill can help increase your catchers' alertness and reaction time. All you need is a bucket of balls, catchers' gear and a field to play on.
- Get your catcher in position, crouched behind the plate, and stand about 5 feet in front of him with a ball in each hand.
- Flick one ball softball at the catcher's mask, while at the same time tossing the other ball into the air to simulate a foul pop.
- Have the catcher make a play on the pop-up while dealing with the distraction of the other baseball.
This will force the catcher to trust his equipment, and keep his eye on the ball as it comes off the bat or skips through the dirt.
Stress to you catchers to NOT pull the head back as the baseball heads toward the mask; pulling the head back exposes the throat and puts the player at greater risk for an injury.