Baseball Magazine

Pre-game Drills for Catchers

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Pre-game drills for catchersAs teams get older, catching becomes more of an impact position on the field.  Having the unathletic kid strap on the equipment and kneel behind the plate in order to hide him no longer works after about the age of 9.  Throwing to bases on steals, fielding bunts, giving signs to pitchers and infielders, blocking balls in the dirt, and taking on a leadership role all become essential to a successful team.

Unfortunately, catchers often get the short end of the stick when it comes to instruction.  Part of that is related to the fact that not many people know a lot about the mechanics of catching and all that goes with it.

Adding more drill work for catchers during practice is certainly important.  However, drill work prior to games is essential too.  I’ll admit that I have slacked in this area but will not continue to do so.

Hitters take BP prior to games.  Pitchers warm-up in the pen.  Infielders get some ground balls.  Outfielders get fly balls.  

But catchers?  Usually nothing.

Below are drills that all catchers can (and probably should) do before all games to prepare their body properly.

  • Blocking balls at them, to their left, and to their right.  If you are short on time, just have them wear a mask and use tennis balls.
  • Pick-up drills to mimic fielding bunts with two hands.  Have them straddle a ball and sweep the ball with their gloves into their bare hand as if they are fielding a bunt.
  • Around-the-horn receiving – balls are tossed to all areas of the strike zone.  Catcher receives/frames.  Great if done bare handed if the ball is tossed underhand from a short distance.
  • Footwork on throws to second base and/or third base.  Can start them from a standing or squat position.  Works on quick transitions and footwork.  No throws needed.  Just get them to the “ready to throw” position.
  • Throws back to the pitcher from a kneeling (no runners on base) and standing (runners on base) position.

A few reps in all or most of these in the outfield or off to the side for your catchers will help prepare them physically and mentally for games.

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