Glove work for catchers

The standard technique used by most catchers (and taught by most coaches) for presenting a target is for the catcher to set up, stick her glove out, and sit there like a statue until the pitcher delivers the ball. This mindset is reinforced by coaches and parents yelling “Give her a bigger target” to the catcher when the pitcher struggles with control. (The problem, incidentally, is rarely with the catcher’s target. Usually it’s the fact that the pitcher couldn’t hit an archery target with the way she’s throwing, but that’s a subject for another day.)

Think about what that set-up means from the umpire’s point of view. The catcher sets up low and in. The pitch goes low and out. The catcher moves her glove across the plate to get the ball, and it looks like a miss. No matter how hard she tries to frame it, there’s a good chance that the pitch will be called a ball.

Now consider this, a technique I saw from Angel Santiago of UNLV at the National Sports Clinics a couple of years ago. Instead of holding a formal, tight target, show the target to the pitcher. Then, as she goes into her windup, relax the arm and the glove. As the pitch comes in, you can move to it easily and frame it toward center.

This technique does two things for you. Number one it smooths out the movement, getting rid of the herky-jerky lunge at the ball. Number two, it trains the umpire that glove movement is normal, not something that happens when a pitch goes wrong.

It can be hard to break old mindsets, but try it. You’ll find it’s a much better way of gaining more strikes for your pitchers.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on October 31, 2008, in Catching, Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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