How to Improve Your Catcher's Reaction Time?


Looking for a way to make your backstops quicker behind the plate? Here are two drills perfect for improving a catcher's response time and put them in a better defensive position.

Identified Flying Objects

The purpose of the first is to get beginning catchers (or rusty veterans) used to seeing a flying object come directly at their face. Have the catcher (in her face mask, helmet, and chest protector) stand up against a wall with her hands behind her back.

A coach/player stands 1-2 feet in front of the catcher and lightly throws the ball so that it hits the catcher in the mask. As the balls are hitting the mask, encourage the catcher not to blink--a natural reaction for everyone.

It's not as easy as it sounds; it will take several sessions before the catcher truly becomes adept at overcoming the impulse to close her eyes and watch the ball all the way into (eventually) the glove.

Need for Speed

The second drill is to work on quickness and response time.

Have the catcher, in full gear, crouch four feet away from a wall. The coach/player stands two feet behind the catcher and throws the ball over the head of the catcher and at the wall.

The catcher cannot see the throw and must react to where it rebounds off of the wall. Insist on good side-to-side movement, containing the ball with the shoulders, and staying square behind the ball.

As the catchers get more proficient at this drill, vary the speed and angles at which the ball comes off of the wall.