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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baseball Tips - Catchers and Catching

Baseball Tips - Catchers and Catching
By guest author: Chico Reese

Every so often I get a request from a parent who tells me that their child is a catcher and that they would like me to help their child "learn some catching things", or "give them some catching tips" or something along those lines. Sometimes I know the player and have seen him catch before. Sometimes I've heard that the player catches. Sometimes the parent says that the child catches and thinks he'd be a lot better with a little help. This last one can be a little scary because I've been told this by parents and once I start working with the player I immediately realize that he has never caught before, or only caught a few times...probably just batting practice a few times.

When I get a request like this from parents, here's what I do:

I first assess what the player has really done or what he can really do. This is important, mainly from a safety point of view. Inexperienced catchers, especially young ones just starting out, can easily get injured by the baseball. So I really try to figure out what I'm dealing with, no matter what mom or dad has told me.

I'll also just talk to the young catcher and try to find out how much he's caught so far in his little career, what he likes about catching and what he doesn't like. You can kind of tell if a player has a real interest in catching or if his parents decided it was a position that he should like. I actually had a nine year old flat-out tell me that he hated baseball. He liked football and golf. He said his dad ( who was the coach) made him play. Catchers need to be motivated kids who truly like, or at young ages, don't mind being a catcher.

I find out more of what I need to know by simply watching how the player reacts to me throwing the ball at him. A young player with very little experience or none at all will almost always have more fear of getting hit by the ball than a catcher who has "been there, done that." This will stand out in his actions when you actually start throwing some balls in the dirt at him, even real slow pitches. Read more.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick