Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Over the next four Wednesdays in February we will be taking you through our four week catchers camp.
Week One: Stance, and receiving the baseball
Just like everything in sports, we need to start with a solid base. In week one of the Catchers camp we will go over our three basic stances. We will also cover our catcher specific stretching routine to loosen up our hips, allowing us to get as low as possible.
Our main goal with our catchers is getting them to be a presenter. We need to believably present as many pitches as strikes to the umpire. Placing an emphasis on keeping strikes strikes, and making those tough borderline pitches strikes. We will accomplish this through proper stance and receiving.
Here we can see the catcher doing a great job at receiving the ball with minimal body, and head movement. The less we move as a catcher, the better chance we have at presenting the pitch as a strike.
Here is 5-time Gold Glove Award Winner Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. You can see his left elbow is outside his left knee. His base is low to the ground in a good position to receive the pitch. This is where we want our catchers to be. The setup is the most important factor in receiving the baseball. We need to be in a position to present a strike before the ball even reaches our glove. We call this "beating the ball to the spot". A good receiving position starts with the glove at the bottom of the zone, our elbow below the heal of the glove, and butt low to the ground if we are in a primary stance. A part of receiving that is often overlooked is following the ball with our eyes all the way into the glove. When practicing receiving be sure to follow the ball all the way into the glove with the eyes. Emphasize this when drilling so it becomes natural in the game.
Bare hand receiving drills
2 Ball receiving drill (Place baseball in heel of hand and focus on catching ball in pocket of hand)
Rapid fire bare hand receiving drill
Angled receiving drill
2 Hop drill (Catcher is facing first-base dugout, hops square to pitcher, receives, catcher faces third-base dugout, hops square to pitcher, and receives)
Glove up drill (Catcher starts with glove on the ground, and reacts when ball is released)
Use tennis balls for receiving drills as they will bounce more and force the catcher to focus more
Be sure to follow us on Instagram @muggeobaseball to see videos of these drills in action.
Don't forget to check back in next week as we cover blocking the baseball!