Softball is an interesting game that is similar to baseball, but not exactly same. There are quite a few differences between how they are played, but the basic essence and goal are same, i.e. to score more runs than the opposite team.
In any case, a major difference is that a regulation softball is significantly larger in size than a regulation baseball. Because of this bigger size, catchers in softball usually have a hard time controlling the ball on the field. To overcome this difficulty, most coaches organize drills for softball catchers to improve their catching game.
Given below are some of the best softball catcher drills for beginners and advanced playersthat you can follow to improve your catching performance in your next softball game.
Drills for Softball Catchers
There are plenty of catching drills a softball player can follow to improve their catching techniques. Apart from the already available ones, it is not uncommon for a coach to come up with their own catcher workouts depending on the player’s level of understanding and interest.
In this case, we have researched and compiled a thorough list of some of the most effective softball catcher exercises a player can follow to improve their catching fundamentals or a coach can use to train other players.
One of the first steps to becoming a good catcher is to know how to block the ground balls. Blocking the ball is especially important to stop runners from advancing. But keep in mind this is a blocking drill, so it is not yet time for catching.
- The first thing to do is to get into an athletic
catching position, where the catcher has to keep
- Feet square to the pitcher
- Flexion in the ankles, knees, and hips
- Glove in a relaxed position
- Now, when the ball arrives, the first thing to do to block that ball is to drop the knees to the ground replacing your feet
- After dropping on your knees, create an angle with your back that will direct the ball down to the ground
- Position the glove between your legs to protect the ball from getting underneath you and keep you throwing hand behind the gloves for protecting your fingers
- During this drill, keep your shoulders round to keep the ball in front of you and also keep your chin down so that the ball stays in vision
- This drill can be done with or without the ball, and therefore is also a very good indoor catcher drill
- Keep doing this drill at least a 10 times a set to get used to it and so that you can react as quickly as possible when the ball arrives
This is one of the most basic and important drills for a catcher. A coach can use a whistle, clap, or a voice command to get the player into blocking position and back to the athletic catching stance. You can do it slowly first and then speed up the process as you get used to the drill.
One of the main jobs as a catcher is to be able to receive solid pitches. A good dependable catcher builds confidence, chemistry, and trust among the teammates when pitching. Therefore, this drill focuses on improving the receiving skills of a catcher.
- Just like in the blocking drill, the first step of this drill too is to get into the athletic catching stance mentioned before
- When the ball is thrown towards the middle of the plate, the catcher will receive the ball with the glove in a horizontal position
- However, if the ball is thrown at any other areas of the plate, then framing is necessary
- So, if the ball is pitched inside or outside the plate, then the catcher will receive the ball with a vertical glove position
- If the ball is pitched high, then the catcher will have to frame the ball from the top of the strike zone
- If the ball is pitched low, then the catcher will have to frame the ball from below the strike zone
You will need help from another person for this drill. You can ask the coach, a fellow player, friend, or a family member to help you out. Ask them to pitch the ball to various areas of the strike zone, while the catcher receives the ball using the before mentioned techniques.
You can also make variations to this drill by practicing barehanded with a tennis ball or by increasing and reducing the throwing distance.
Practice this drill at least 10 times in a row for each of the area in a strike zone. For instance, count 10 receives for high pitch and then switch to 10 receives for low pitch. Similarly go for side to side and centre. By the end of the drill, the catcher should gain a good idea about which pitch is within the strike zone and which pitch in the ball zone.
Throwing is an important skill and all catchers must learn how to throw correctly. A good throw from the catcher can stop a base from getting stolen. Therefore, this fastpitch softball catching drill focuses on improving the throwing skills of a catcher.
- Just like in the previous two drills, the first step in this drill too is to get into the same athletic catching stance
- Now, when the catcher receives the pitch, there should take place a proper footwork and transfer
- In this drill, the catcher should repeat the footwork and body alignment multiple times to perfect the throwing skill
- The catcher must step forward in an athletic position keeping the legs, hips, and shoulders aligned while transferring the ball into the throwing hand
- You can practice this forward motion in the athletic position by moving in this way from base to base
- The catcher must move towards the base and then raise the throwing hand to the ears while keeping the shoulders up in a position ready to throw
- Finish the drill by practicing the throw, but keep in mind to get the hips through while throwing, which is the key to a perfect throw
- Keep practicing the drill multiple times, say around a set of 10-15 throws per drill, and this should greatly improve your throwing skills
This softball catcher exercise is very important as throwing is one of the key aspects of softball. While throwing is an important skill for every player in the game, it tends to be a special for catchers because of their athletic stance. A good catcher must know how to transition through the athletic stance and throw the ball perfectly.
Benefits of Catcher Drills
The position of a catcher is one of the most important positions while playing defence, since the catcher is involved in almost every play. For beginners practicing these drills can be very uncomfortable, while it can still be tough for intermediate players and sometimes even advanced players can experience soreness.
The main benefit catchers can receive from these drills is to get used to the stance they are supposed to play in. Getting the body used to the uncomfortable sitting for a long time can be extremely tough and so, these drills can prove very helpful in developing the catcher’s fundamentals.
Other benefits of going through these catcher workout programs is that the catcher developing a good instinct towards the game. This can be a key factor in the game as the catcher most of the time is the only person who can stop a base from getting stolen.
Catcher training is very important as it builds confidence, chemistry, and trust between the players. With a strong catcher, a team can perform to its full potential. All the softball catcher workouts mentioned above are very effective and can strongly shape any beginner into a good catcher.
These can also be used as youth softball catcher drills to train the young players who are just introduced to the game. Make sure to follow all the tips mentioned above and also not to strain the catcher too much.