How to Be a Baseball Catcher – Fundamentals and Techniques

To be a baseball catcher, in addition to learning the mechanics of his job, the player also has to know something about “handling” pitchers. He must get to know their capabilities, what kind of temperament they have, etc. If the pitcher is a very nervous boy and inclined to pitch too fast, it’s up to the catcher to hold the ball longer between pitches and slow him down.

If the pitcher gets discouraged quickly, the catcher ought to talk to him and try to keep his spirits up. Most of all, the catcher ought to know which pitch is the hurler’s best-is it the fast ball, or the curve? {The “best” on the day he’s pitching).

When a new pitcher comes into the game, the catcher meets him at the mound, reviews the signs, the current situation, the number of outs, the score and the next hitter.

Be The Quarterback
The catcher, like the hitter, is within the vision of every defensive player. This puts him in position to “take charge” of the ball club in the field. And “take charge” he must. Part of his assignment is to see to it that every boy is playing in the right position for the hitter. He moves the outfield to left or right; brings the infield up or directs it to play back.

If he’s not fielding a bunt, he tells the boy who does where to throw the ball. He decides whether a ground ball is to be played home-to-1st (with bases loaded), or whether the infield is to try for a 2nd-to-lst double play. The infield in particular has to know in advance where to make the play with runners on base. It’s up to the catcher to tell them-whether he decides on his own, or gets his orders from the manager.

Wear Equipment Correctly
To be a baseball catcher worth his salt, it’s not a good idea for him to let anyone else use his mitt. That’s his most important tool and it needs to be in perfect condition at all times. Break it in yourself, catcher, and it will fit your hand. Don’t use a sponge unless you have a sore hand. In other words, try to toughen up the catching hand so you won’t need a sponge.

Buckle the shinguards with buckles on the outside. That way they won’t catch when you’re running. When your team is at bat, don’t take the shinguards off unless you are among the first three hitters. Don’t wear the chest protector loose, it will hamper throws to the bases. Keep it under the chin while catching to protect the Adam’s Apple. Always wear it the same way; that is, with the buckle on the same side.

Be sure the mask fits snugly. Keep the straps over the ears to protect against foul tips. Keep the leather of the mask clean. Never go behind the bat without full equipment!

Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of “kid baseball”, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States-programs that provide wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.

The young player of today is smartly uniformed and fully equipped. He plays on a miniature Big League diamond ruled by uniformed umpires. He often plays before large crowds and occasionally gets his name in a newspaper.

To be a baseball catcher is to be a very valuable part of this great game. Enjoy the wonderful game of baseball!