Catchers: Tips, Drills, Information, Catching Equipment, Catchers Gear
Relaxed Catchers Stance
Leadership In-depth Skills Relays, Cutoffs, and Plays at Home
Calling A Game
Misc. Situations and Plays
A general stance most catchers use with the bases empty and less than two strikes is called a "relaxed" stance. The relaxed stance begins by squatting with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your hips and shoulders should be square to the pitcher and your feet straight across or slightly (an inch or two) staggered. In other words, when looking down at home plate your feet should be parallel with the front edge of the plate (i.e. straight across). Your weight should be on the insides of your feet and you must be balanced. Balance is key. You should not be falling over and it should be difficult for someone to push you over. Get as low as comfortably possible while still being in an athletic position ready to react to anything. The purpose of getting low is to allow the umpire to clearly see and call pitches in the lower half of the zone. Every catcher is different so you should experiment and find a stance that is comfortable and balanced. Setting a proper arm position and arm angle are important. Your receiving arm (mitt hand) should be relaxed (somewhere near the middle of being completely straight and being completely bent toward your chest) and your palm should be pointed at the pitcher. DO NOT set up with your receiving arm straight or you may interfere with the batter's swing (catcher's interference). DO NOT have your arm totally bent, as this will slow your ability to react to wild pitches. Being extended or completely bent will also hamper your ability to receive and frame pitches. Your elbow should be below your mitt. This helps in framing pitches that are low and to the left side of your body (your elbow has less distance to travel to get around the pitch). For right-handed catchers (most catchers are right handed), your throwing hand should be behind your right shoe to avoid being hit by a fouled pitch. I even like to stick my thumb in the back of my shoe.
Present a Good TargetPresent the pitcher with a good target. Your mitt should be held just above your knees or the knees of the batter. Your mitt should not obstruct your vision. A good rule of thumb is to provide your pitcher with a target as soon as he begins his windup. If the pitcher is in the stretch position, present a target after you give your sign. You may have to adjust this depending on how quickly the pitcher delivers to the plate. As the pitcher delivers, you can relax your wrist. This is more comfortable and will allow you to react quicker than with a tense wrist. As you catch the ball, firm up your wrist so the ball doesn't drag you mitt backwards. Remember your arm position and set a good target!!! KEYS: Square to Pitcher, Comfort, Balance, Low Athletic Position, Arm Position, Palm Toward Pitcher, Target, Relaxed Stance Advanced Tip: Drop your left knee slightly to allow for a greater range of motion with your receiving arm. This way your knee does not interfere with the movement of your arm and you can more easily frame a pitch down and in on a right handed hitter.