Catching is one of the most important positions in baseball defense. However, it is often the least coached. Because there is more to being a catcher than being able to catch the ball, these youth baseball drills were designed to help catchers develop the skills they need to succeed.
Catchers need to maintain a crouch position for at least nine innings, so it is important for their legs to be in shape. This drill will help catchers both stay in the crouch and move out of the crouch quickly.
Players should start by playing catch in while crouching. Next, have them walk around in the crouch position. Finally, have catchers work on their quickness and spring by jumping over home plate in the crouch position.
This catchers’ drill helps players work on framing the pitch and developing their glove work. Framing is essential in the catching position because it can determine whether or not a pitch is called a strike.
Start the drill using tennis or safety balls so that the catcher can work without a glove. Pitch the balls all over the strike zone and have the catcher practice catching using a bent elbow, holding the ball so the umpire can see where it was caught. The catcher should follow the ball from the pitcher’s hand, catching it so that his thumb is pointed toward the pitcher. Eventually have the catcher run the drill with his glove, using a regular baseball.
This drill is designed to help catchers block pitches using their chest protectors. The Blocking Drill is great for young players who need to work on not being afraid of the ball and getting used to what their equipment can do.
Start the drill by bouncing balls off the catcher, having him keep his hands behind his back to get comfortable using the chest protector. Next, have the catcher work on blocking pitches in the dirt by using his glove positioned down between his legs. The catcher should practice performing the block, quickly getting to his feet, and scooping up the ball.
For this youth baseball drill, catchers will work on proper technique for catching pop-ups while wearing their full gear.
Hit pop-ups for the player to catch using a fungo bat. The catcher should follow these steps when catching a pop-up:
- Quickly get up from the crouch
- Locate the ball in the air and determine where it will land, keeping in mind that it will probably drift toward the infield
- Throw the mask away, making sure it won’t be underfoot
- Move toward the ball and make the catch