The heart of the baseball team is the catchers. They have the hardest job in the game as they are involved in every play.
The catchers have to block, catch and throw out the base runners. Not only this, but they also have to call the pitches, keep them calm, and prepare themselves for various situations accordingly.
To be able to give their best in the game, the catchers need to practice baseball catching drills on a regular basis. While doing these drills, wear the perfect catcher’s mitt, for catchers, and if you’re on an outfield, then wear your normal baseball gloves.
Here are few of the best baseball catching drills for you to practice.
5 Baseball Catching Drills
- Blocking without ball
The basic fundamental that you must know if you want to be a catcher is blocking the ball. However, before you try to block the ball, it is essential to learn the proper technique.
The catcher has to squat in full catcher’s gear behind the plate, along with the coach guiding him/her when to rise or drop in various directions for stopping the ball.
- Throw Home
The catcher should be aware of where he/she has to stand, which also depends on which direction the ball comes from. Use players across the whole field and practice taking shots from every direction across the pitch.
The outfield should also be included in the practice. The catcher should always put on their mask for safety purposes. Also, the center of gravity should be maintained at a lower level for leverage.
- Hockey Goalie
Once the catcher learns the various blocking techniques without the involvement of the ball, he/she can go for this particular drill. The catcher should squat behind the plate, with cones set on either side of him. The coach should be positioned 20-30 feet in front of the catcher, on one knee, with a bucket full of balls.
The coach has to throw the balls in various random directions between cones. Some should be in the air, while the others in the dirt. Throw approximately 20 balls and check how many goals are allowed by the catcher.
- Flinch and Blink
For this drill, the catcher should stand behind the home plate in full gear. It needs two coaches, one with a bat positioned in the batter’s box, and the other one in front of the catcher, posted on one knee, with a distance of 15-25 feet.
These drills train the catcher to not flinch and blink when the ball approaches his face. Initially, the coach should lob the balls at the catcher’s mask underhanded. The catcher has to keep their hands behind their back.
The catcher then has to bring forward their mitt while the pitcher is allowed to throw the ball at normal speed, aiming at the catcher’s mask. The coach in the batter’s box has to swing and miss at each pitch.
- Throwing to the Second
To perform this drill, a second shortstop or baseman would be required to cover the second, along with the catcher positioned behind the plate with full gear and a pitcher to throw the balls. The pitcher throws the balls out of the stretch in the direction of the catcher.
The catcher then throws the same ball to the other baseman to attempt a run out for a mock runner. Moreover, the catcher needs to stress how to get rid of the ball quickly by putting one step extra in order to increase the velocity of the ball.
A stopwatch is supposed to be used to measure the interval of time between the pitch hitting the mitt of the catcher and the second baseman catching the throw of the catcher. This time should be as minimal as possible.
For an adult player, the position of the catcher is overall quite challenging. However, for the younger players, catching is a tricky task unless they are taught proper skills and they develop a few. Proper positioning is very much crucial when it comes to catching.
The catcher has to learn how to block the balls in the dirt, how to get out of the squat, and how to throw the ball to the second baseman.
Wearing baseball cleats while doing these drills is important as you adapt and get more accustomed to a natural environment.
All these skills require practicing various drills repetitively so that you can develop them efficiently. Make your young players practice these drills and enhance their skills in the field.
Catching is one of the most critical positions in baseball. Although sometimes underrated, you still can’t deny the importance of a good catcher in a crucial game.
And while this particular stance can be very demanding both physically as well as mentally, you can still master it if you train correctly and adequately.
Practicing the drills, as mentioned above, will definitely help you to become a better catcher. But eventually, it all boils down to the amount of hard work you are ready to put in order to ace your game and enhance your expertise.