Catcher – a one-hand position
Lately I’ve been noticing an interesting phenomenon. For some reason, I’ve been seeing catchers trying to catch pitches with two hands. They start with their hand behind their back (also wrong) or behind their shinguard (correct position). Then as the pitch comes in, their throwing hand comes forward and they catch the ball with two hands.
That is not only poor technique, it’s dangerous to the catcher’s throwing hand. While we often stress two hands for catching in the field, catchers need to use one hand. There are a couple reasons for this.
One is foul tips. If the batter tips the ball it could deflect anywhere. If the throwing hand is coming up to help catch the ball, a foul tip can hit it. The result could be a jammed, sprained, or broken finger or thumb. None of those are very conducive to continuing to play.
The other is it it actually takes longer to throw the ball if the throwing hand is coming forward to help with the catch. In the field, using two hands helps both with securing the ball and making a quick transfer to throw. But at the catcher position, because the hand is starting behind the shin guard, you want to catch with one hand, then bring the glove (and ball) back to the throwing shoulder. The hand meets it there and the transfer is made.
So how do you get catchers to get in the habit of using just one hand? One way is to have them hook their thumb in the strap of their shinguards until after they make the catch while practicing. Then practice using one hand a lot.
It’s important for catchers to protect their throwing hands. Using one hand to catch will make that happen.