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C – The Catcher plays the most physically demanding position in all of baseball. Attributes of a good catcher include toughness, quick feet, strong and accurate throwing arm, thorough understanding of the game situation, and the mental ability to think several pitches ahead in the count to “set up” hitters. The catcher is the main decision maker for your defense. Only the catcher has a view of the entire field of play. Besides staying heads up in the game, your catcher must be unflinchingly tough as nails. Catcher is the most physically demanding position, requiring toughnes, agility, good hands, and quick and accurate throwing arm. It's a hard position to fill. At a young age, many kids will want to be catcher, because of all the action. At later ages, it's a hard position to fill because it's tought to play it well.

Beginner: Make sure your young catchers begin in the proper stance, with their weight over their toes, not back on their heels. Teach them to catch the ball out front, arm slightly extended, but not stiff. Have a look at the stance of each batter, how deep or shallow they are in the batters box, and adjust the catcher so that they will not be hit on the glove hand with the swing, and so that there is not a large gap between the batter and catcher. Throwing to the pitcher with runners on base needs to be a conscious effort by your catcher to first look at each runner, the lead runner last, before throwing the ball to the pitcher.
Intermediate: The area immediately in front of home plate belongs to the catcher, on bunts and check swing taps. Leave the mask on! Attempting to remove the mask before making the play looks cool, but costs you valuable time. Most catchers masks these days are built wrap around or goalie mask style and are more difficult to remove. On balls playable by the catcher, position yourself to step through the ball, towards the base you want to throw to, and then pick up the ball with your throwing hand. Foul pop ups are a much more difficult play for a catcher than any other position. The ball is behind them and they don't have the advantage of seeing it go up, plus their glove is not designed for pop ups. The key to remember is that most pop ups will spin back towards the field rather than come straight down. If time permits, get rid of the mask, by tossing it well to the side, after the ball has been located. The catcher needs to position himself to allow the ball to come back to the field. Use two hands, especially with a glove not designed for pop-ups.
Advanced: Blocking a thown ball, in the dirt, is a tough skill to learn, and a challenge to teach. It also is one of the potentially game saving skills your catcher needs. Fastballs in the dirt tend to hop straight and skip low. Curves and sliders will generally bounce slightly higher and opposite of the direct of curve while in the air due to the spin on the ball. You want your catcher to block the ball in the dirt, not catch the ball. Attempting to catch the ball will result in more passed balls, not fewer. To block a ball properly, you want to create as large of a wall as possible, squared up and angled slightly downwards to the ball. To create the wall, the catcher shold be high on their knees, legs closed, both hands in front of their legs, and leaning forward. When the ball bounces in the dirt then off the catcher, it will bounce downwards in front of the catcher. Drill: Have your catcher(s) with full equipment, get in catcher stance, both hands behind their back, then throw bouncing balls to them from 30 feet away which they must block and keep in front of them. Move the bounce of the ball closer and farther, as well as side to side. Work with them to "cup" themselves around the ball to contain the bounce..
  The Dream Play: The play that every catcher wants to make is to pick a runner off third base. The runner is in prime scoring position and picking the runner off not only produces an out but most likely saves a run as well. A quick and accurate throw to the third baseman breaking to the bag is a risky play. An overthrow is a run, a perfect play can end an inning.

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To comment on any of these baseball tips please send us an email.  Baseball is a tremendously enjoyable game for kids to play.  These baseball coaching tips are provided to make the game easier to coach and increase the skill level of your baseball players.  This website is dedicated to the advancement of minor baseball players. It is about developing the fundamental skills of young baseball players by providing them instruction and coaching appropriate to their age and skill level.

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