Blocking, framing

Do catchers get to practice their position?

Next time you are around a youth baseball practice, take note how much time is dedicated to the catchers to practice their skills such as receiving, blocking and throwing.  If it is anything like almost all of the practices I see then there is NO time dedicated to catchers.  The most the catcher might get is catching a bullpen but, they are just stuck behind the plate and told to catch the pitch.  You may see the catcher get time standing by the plate next to the coach catching balls thrown back in from first base as the coach hits grounders to the infielders which achieves nothing for the catcher.

Catching is the most complicated position on the field and is involved on every pitch.  The catcher is responsible to give signs to the pitcher and in some instances to the infield, properly set-up to receive the pitch, frame the pitch to secure a strike or block the ball in the dirt to prevent a base runner from advancing, throw out base runners attempting to steal, field bunts and pop-ups, retrieve wild pitches and make force-out and tag plays at the plate to save runs.  Yep, nothing much to be responsible for so we can ignore the catcher in practice.  WRONG!

Just as coaches dedicate time for infielders to take grounds, make throws and turn two,  or outfielders get time working on tracking fly balls, crow hops and hitting the cut-off man, coaches need to dedicate time in their practice plan to improve their catchers skills.

Reveiving_B&W

Focus time in each practice on at minimum blocking and receiving.  These two catching skills are critical to playing the position of catcher and will greatly improve your team in the process by improving your catchers’ skill level in these areas.  You can still use pitcher bullpen sessions as an additional opportunity for catchers to work on their receiving but it can’t be their only time to do so and instruction/coaching has to take place so your catcher can learn and improve through the process.

 

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