Catchers: Tips, Drills, Information, Catching Equipment, Catchers Gear
Catcher Set Up - Count and Pitch Type
Leadership In-depth Skills Relays, Cutoffs, and Plays at Home
Calling A Game
Misc. Situations and Plays Glossary
The count on the batter and the type of pitch thrown affects where a catcher needs to set up. The target you present to your pitcher should almost always (a few exceptions) be directly in the middle of your body and just above your knees or the knees of the hitter. Never set up directly down the middle of home plate. I don't care if the count on the hitter is three balls and no strikes. Set up just off the middle, maybe an inch or two. In general.if the pitcher is behind in the count, set up to cover more of the plate. If the pitcher is equal or ahead in the count, work further from the middle of the plate or even off the plate.
FastballsFastball can be thrown in any part of the strike zone in any count. Very rarely do you want to see a fastball thrown down the MIDDLE of the plate. As a hitter, you should know most hitters have a high success rate hitting fastballs down the middle of the plate. This is why you should work the corners of the plate when throwing fastballs. Get to know the umpire's strike zone. Most umpires will expand the true strike zone a few inches. By the end of the first inning, you should have a good idea of an umpire's zone. Use this to your advantage when setting up. If an umpire is calling strikes on pitches that are 6 inches out of the zone, set up to take advantage of this. Remember the general rule.if the pitcher is behind in the count, set up to cover more of the plate. If the pitcher is equal or ahead in the count, work further from the middle or even off the plate.
Breaking BallsWhen a pitcher is throwing a breaking ball early in the count he is most likely trying to get that pitch over for a strike. It is important for the pitcher to get ahead of the hitter. As a catcher you need set up to cover more of the plate to allow the pitch a greater chance of catching part of the strike zone. If your pitcher is ahead in the count, he may want to throw a breaking pitch that starts in the zone and then drop/curves out of it. On these occasions you should set up more to the corners and/or be ready to block a pitch in the dirt with two strikes on the hitter or with runners on base. On occasions where a right-handed pitcher is facing a left-handed hitter (or vice versa), a breaking ball may be thrown down and in. Again though, the object is to get the hitter to chase a pitch out of the zone and you need to be ready to block it.
Change UpsChange Ups are one of the most effective pitches in a pitcher's arsenal. Hitting is timing and changing speeds throws off a hitter's timing. This does not mean you can set up down the middle or near the middle of the plate with this pitch. It is easier for hitters to recognize a change up that is UP in the hitting zone and the results are usually not good for the pitcher. Change ups should be thrown on the corners or off the plate and low in the zone. Most change ups will be thrown away from a hitter meaning to the outside. Set up on the corner or off the plate and provide your pitcher with a good low target. On rare occasions change ups will be thrown down and in on a hitter if the pitcher has a good sinking action to the pitch.
0-2: A special count that needs mentioningOn a zero ball and two strike count the pitcher is in command. He has a number of options available and it is up to you or your coaches to decide what to do. Your first option is to go right at the hitter. Do not waste any pitches. Usually, to be successful with this option, you need to have a pitcher on the mound that throws exceptionally hard or has a very nasty out pitch (which you may have to block). Going at the hitter means the pitch will be in the hitting zone. Your second option is to throw a waste pitch. A waste pitch is both off the plate and away from the hitter or a pitch that bounces in the dirt in which the hitter has no chance of hitting solid. There are multiple reasons to throw a waste pitch: To try and get the hitter to chase a bad pitch, to show the hitter a different pitch than what he's seen so far, and to set up your next pitch or series of pitches. Your third option with an O-2 count is to bust the hitter up and in on his hands. You will not literally hit the batter in the hands. The purpose of this is to brush the hitter off the plate so he is not diving into the outside pitches, to change the batter's eye level which makes it harder to hit, and also, to set up your next pitch away from the hitter. This is one of the rare instances where the catcher will move his target to a position up and in on the hitter. This will let the pitcher know where his target is. DO NOT leave your glove there the entire time, only long enough so the pitcher can visualize his target.
A Wild PitcherPitchers sometimes have off days where nothing they throw is near the plate. Sometimes they might be having trouble throwing one of their pitches for strikes. In these situations it is sometimes necessary for the catcher to set up more toward the middle of the plate no matter what the count. Once a pitcher re-establishes his control (if he does) you can start moving further from the middle or off the plate. KEYS: Be Forward, Catcher's Interference, Know the Hitter, Never Down the Middle, Off the Plate, Umpire's Zone