Catcher Tips – The Art of Throwing Down to Second Base

The ability to throw out potential base stealers is an important responsibility of the catcher. Although most bases are stolen off the pitcher, a weak armed or slow reacting catcher will make the job quite easy no matter what the pitcher does to hold runners close to base.

The greater majority of the catcher’s throws will be to second base because of the long throw from home plate to the base and runners have a tendency to attempt stealing 2nd base more than any other. A good strong arm is essential, but it takes a quick release and accuracy to stop the running game.

Infielders must be coached in assisting the catcher when a runner is stealing as the catcher’s first responsible for catching the pitch. He may not always see the runner take off to steal, especially if there’s a left handed batter in the box. The infielders should immediately start shouting “He’s going!” “He’s going!” to alert the catcher the runner is attempting a steal.

The instant a catcher hears this he should shift his right knee towards the right field foul line. This motion allows a quicker turn of the hips toward the target, second base. This is important, the catcher should not stab at the ball or reach in an attempt to catch the ball quicker. This will actually slow the entire throwing process down. Instead, he should catch the ball where he normally catches it if not a few inches deeper.

As the catcher springs up and out with his left foot, he brings the mitt and the throwing hand together, gripping the ball and taking it out of the mitt. If he’s using the bare hand directly behind the mitt method, he’ll be able to retrieve the ball quicker. His mitt arm extends out toward second base, as his hips open his throwing arm should extend straight back.

To review this position. The catcher should be facing second base with the left side of his body. Both arms are fully extended in opposite directions. The catcher should throw the baseball over handed with the ball passing close to his ear. This is not only the quickest release, but by throwing directly over hand the ball won’t sail or trail to one side of the target or the other.

Depending on the catcher’s arm strength and / or age, there are a couple of different options for the feet.
Should he have a strong arm, coming out of the squat, he should step with his left foot towards the target and push off with his right foot.
Should his arm not be strong, coming out of the squat he can shuffle his feet, going forward and building momentum, and throw.

The major key to success is a quick release and accurate throw.