Catchers: Tips, Drills, Information, Catching Equipment, Catchers Gear
A Catchers Other Throws
Leadership In-depth Skills
Relays, Cutoffs, and Plays at Home
Calling A Game
Misc. Situations and Plays Glossary
Throughout the course of a game, other throwing situations may arise:
Pickups - Fielding the BallThere are a number of situations that arise where a catcher must field a ball; a guy has hit a chopper in front of the plate, the batter bunted, a wild pitch in the dirt with runners on, or a dropped third strike. The catcher must find the ball and get to it quickly to make a play. There are two ways to field the ball as a catcher. The first way is the scoop method. Use this method when the ball is rolling. If the ball is toward the pitcher or first base, get around the baseball so that your back is to left field; keep your legs wide, your butt low. Using both your mitt and throwing hand, simultaneously scoop the ball together. Shuffle your feet and make the throw. Getting around the baseball means your body is preset and aligned to make the throw, feet aligned and shoulders toward your target. Balls down the third base line should be fielded with your butt facing first base. Again, scoop the ball with your mitt and bare hand working together. You will have to reset yourself after you field the ball to make your throw. The other method is bare hand and is used for balls that are stationary. Create a fork with all of your fingers and pluck the ball from the ground. Get around the ball the same way you did using the scoop method. If you have time, readjust your grip. Set yourself and then throw. For a ball down the third base line, aim your butt toward first and after fielding the ball, reset to throw. *I recommend using the scoop method for all fielded balls. The only time I allow my catchers to use a bare hand is in a do-or-die situation where the play needs to be made very quickly. Use the scoop method in inclement weather or when the grass is wet.
Clearing the RunnerA situation may arise where you field a ball and the runner blocks your throwing lane to first base. In this situation you need to clear the runner. A general rule of thumb is to use the first base line as a guide. Anything to the left of the left of the line (in the field of play), move toward the infield to clear your throwing lane, set, then throw a strike to first. The first baseman should be to the inside of the bag and giving you a good target. If you need to make a play on a ball to the right of the baseline, move to the outside, set, and throw to first. The first baseman should read and adjust to the side you move to. There may even be times where the first baseman is off of first to allow an even greater throwing lane for you. Remember, if you throw the ball and it hits the runner while he is in play (on the line or to the left of the line), he is out.
Pitch OutOccasionally, your coach may call for a pitch out. The purpose of the pitch out is to give the catcher a greater chance of throwing out a runner attempting to steal. You will give the pitcher a special signal so he knows where to throw the pitch. The pitch will be delivered to middle of the batter's box that does not contain a hitter. Expect the ball about chest high if you are standing. Assume your regular catching stance and only move to that location (batter's box) after the pitcher has delivered the pitch. Using one of the 3 throwing methods, make a quick strong throw to the base. The Jab Step works best.
Pick Off - Experienced CatchersAnother tool at the catcher's disposal is the ability to pick off runners that get a large secondary lead or are leaning toward the next base. A catcher with a great arm and a quick release can be a huge asset by keeping runners honest on secondary leads and retiring base runners. You can attempt a pick at any base. Be careful with throws to third as you are throwing into the runner. To attempt a pick you can use any of the three throwing methods discussed earlier. Make sure you clear the hitter and have a clear throwing lane. There is a fourth throwing style that is useful for pick off attempts at first base, the snap throw. The snap throw, if done properly, can be quite effective. After receiving the pitch quickly rotate the upper body while staying in a squatting position. Make the throw with your shoulders pointed at your target and your lower body still in a squat or kneel. Be quick and accurate. The most effective pitch to perform the snap throw is a pitch to the right side of your body (right handed catcher).
Back To Pitcher - After PitchesAfter every pitch throw the ball with some authority back to the pitcher. For one, it looks better. Two, if you lob the ball back it makes you look lazy. Three, a runner who's quick enough and is paying attention will steal while you lob the ball to the pitcher. KEYS: Scoop Method, Clear the Runner, Pick Off Attempts - Snap Throw, Pitch Out Position