Product review: A Coach’s Guide to Training Catchers DVD
Ok, I will admit I am a little behind the times on this one. A couple of years ago (at least I think it was a couple of years ago) I received a complementary copy of a video called A Coach’s Guide to Training Catchers from Dave Weaver, owner and head instructor of the New England Catching Camp.
I sat down to watch it then without realizing how long it was. I didn’t have enough time to complete it so I stopped it and set it aside, meaning to come back to it. But then life happened, and I didn’t get back to it. Until recently, that is. A change in my work schedule has me on a train three days a week, which gave me plenty of time to give it a look.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive resource for training catchers, this is it. The DVD is 2 hours and 40 minutes long (more on that later), and covers everything from stances to receiving the ball to blocking to fielding bunts to throwing out runners. It appears to be shot during one of Coach Weaver’s camps, so the kids demonstrating are not necessarily the “best of the best,” hand-picked athletes but instead regular players. Some of them may indeed be excellent catchers, but it doesn’t appear that the video was skewed toward it like so many are. Instead, their skills are the results of training, making what’s shown more relatable to the bulk of the people toward whom the video is aimed.
I liked many of the techniques demonstrated by Coach Weaver. A good example is his take on displaying the ball for an umpire, aka framing the pitch. For many people, framing means catching the ball and then pulling it in toward the plate or making some other sort of move that is likely insulting to the umpire’s intelligence. Coach Weaver shows it as catching the part of the ball that’s furthest away from the plate, i.e. if the pitch is high, catch the top half of the ball.
The stances and blocking are pretty much the same as what I teach, so of course I like those as well. Catchers make their bones through their ability to block balls in the dirt, especially with a runner on third. All too often catchers want to “catch” those balls, which leads to disaster when the ball takes a bad hop and gets away. Coach Weaver shows how blocking the ball keeps it close, so runners (especially those on third) stay put. It takes some work to get catchers trained to let the ball hit their gear instead of trying to get it with their gloves, but it will definitely help you win a few more games.
One technique he advocates that I am not a fan of is having the throwing hand in a closed fist behind the glove with runners on base. His take is that it creates a faster transfer of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand. Honestly, I’m not convinced of that. And that comes from an ex-catcher who used to keep his throwing hand behind his glove at all times, because that’s how old I am. The Johnny Bench hand behind the shinguard didn’t come in until after I was pretty close to done. That being said, I wouldn’t stop a catcher from doing it if she’s comfortable. I’m just not sure it’s necessary. I’d need to see some hard numbers to convince me it’s the way to go.
The one thing I found as a negative to the video was it seemed a little ponderous to me. One of the reasons it runs 2 hours and 40 minutes is Coach Weaver has several kids, male and female, demonstrate the techniques. In a live setting it’s probably not a problem. On video it can feel like it’s taking forever. I actually found myself running it a 2X speed or more, which give Coach Weaver a bit of a chipmunk sound to his voice but speeds things along.
Here again, I will note that I’ve been teaching catchers for a while so a lot of the information wasn’t new to me. That may have colored my thinking as I watched it. If you’re coming at it new, all the repetition may be necessary so you can grasp the concepts. On the other hand, it’s video. If you need to see it again you can just run it back as many times as you want. A little judicious editing would be appealing in my book. Coach Weaver says he’s coming out with a new video soon, so perhaps he will incorporate that suggestion (which I have made to him directly).
It is definitely worth owning, though, especially at $39.99. Parents of young catchers, or coaches who understand the value a top-notch catcher can bring to their teams, will want to invest in this video. Catchers are the backbone of your team. Be sure that backbone is strong.
Posted on March 15, 2011, in Catching, Coaching, Instruction, Product Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
Hi Ken, Dave’s son Jason does all the catching at our facility. With regard to the throwing hand in the “runners on” stance, it also helps with blocking. On a block the hands fire and the body follows, so having the hands closer together to start helps them fire together – especially on blocks to the glove side!
Hi Tewks, sorry about the delay getting your comment up. The software had it inactive for some reason. I don’t consciously screen posts, except for spam, of course. But sometimes the software is a bit aggressive. Post a couple more comments and it should work just fine! 🙂 Interesting thought on the second reason to have the hand behind the glove. Hadn’t thought about that with blocking. It certainly seems like it would be easier to get the hand in the right place during the block rather than having to come around the leg. As I mentioned, growing up I always had the hand behind the glove as a catcher. Then it all changed to behind the shin guard. I guess everything runs in cycles…
Good article. I agree with you. Don’t like the idea of a closed fist on the throwing arm. Thanks!
Totally agree…Great assessment of video.
There are some magnetic new trends in wedding ceremony gown decorations for 2011. Unique wedding dresses designers have accustomed some older preferred accents (calculate pearls) and interpreted them in new ways, plus they have also discovered refreshing new usages to utilize out-of-style accents (sequins). They are some within the best embellishments which you will see nigh the newest crop of 2011 wedding ceremony gowns.
Pearls are constantly preferred as marriages,new look dresses, and they ambition in all probability be incredibly very much in fashion because 2011. The newest direction to utilize pearls namely for one all extra than embellishment,phase eight dresses, instead of being a slight beading ashore mesh. Sequins have lengthened capable a penniless prestige for obtaining meretricious,white cocktail dress, inexpensive,buy dresses online, and just plain tacky. Lots of among the best finish destination bridal gown designers are getting a mark name new search at sequins for their 2011 marrying rite robe accumulations, with surprisingly chic results.
There are some other wedding ceremony gown embellishments which ruled the runways at latest bridal collections. An annexed stand out for 2011 wedding dresses is all-over three-dimensional floral appliques. No subject ifcompleted on the petite scale more than the entire gown alternatively annexed big on just the skirt, floral accents are indeed on this annual. With so lots of mythological variations from which to choose, it will absolutely be enjoyable to go purchasing for anybody bridal gown in 2011.