Catchers use a lot of detailed strategies to manage their demanding position. Discover one of the ways you can take better control of your game.
Catchers navigate two very different game scenarios. In one, you see the game happening moment to moment, the movement of the basemen, the windup of the first pitch, the tensing of the batter.
In the other scenario, you’re fully engaged, watching for base-stealing runners, calling pitches, readying to kick the defense into gear. Everything is on the line, and it’s so tense you start to shake, just a little, from the adrenaline.
As a catcher it is very important that you are flexible, loose and have great body control. Once you have given a sign to your pitcher, there are two types of stances you can take: primary or secondary.
This stance allows you to sit more comfortably while still performing your most common duties of calling and receiving pitches. You want to be nice and low in your stance, giving a clear target for the pitcher. You should be in a relaxed position with your legs slightly wider than your shoulders and toes angled out, allowing your hips to be open. The mitt should be in the center of your body, away from your chest. Be sure to have your mitt at about the same height as the batter’s knees, which are at the bottom of the hitting zone. Keep your throwing hand down at your side behind your leg when the pitch is delivered to avoid being hit with a foul ball.
When there are two outs or runners on base, use your secondary stance. Position your feet wider than in the primary stance. Hold yourself a few inches higher off the ground to give yourself more mobility when it comes time to make a throw or play on the ball. Angle your chest slightly to the plate so you can handle lower pitches while maintaining your balance. It will also help with blocking pitches in the dirt.
Similar to the primary stance, maintain a low target for your pitcher with the mitt at the batter’s knee-height, away from your chest, and keep your throwing hand tucked behind your leg.
Work on developing a flexible, loose and balanced primary and secondary stance. You can work on this while catching in the bullpen, switching between the two. Coaches can also work with you during practice, having you get into your stance, maintaining it for a few seconds, then standing up. By repeating this regularly, you will naturally become comfortable navigating between the two stances throughout a game.