Catching Footwork: The Good, the Bad, and How to Correct it
by JD Dorgan
When working with multiple catchers ranging in ages from 7-22, I have noticed that their footwork is usually the thing that needs to be improved the most.
At a young age, catchers tend to take more steps towards 2nd base to try to get more on the throw due to their arm strength being poor. On the other hand, older players tend to not use their lower half as much and rely on their arm strength to make a strong accurate throw to 2nd. The lower half is what drives the catcher towards 2nd and aides in getting as much on the throw to the base as possible.
Framework for Throwdowns to Second Base
When the catcher is in his secondary position (butt up & weight on inside of feet), his first movement should be to take a step with his right foot about a foot towards home plate. As this is happening, the catcher should begin the transfer process.
- The glove begins to move straight towards the ear where the hand will grab the ball out of the glove.
- Once the right foot has landed, the left begins to move towards 2nd base and lands just before the back of home plate. It is important not to land on the plate or in front of it. Landing on the plate may cause the catcher to slip and fall and landing in front of it means you took too big of a step causing your pop time to be slower.
- The catcher should land with the majority of his weight on his back leg (right leg) and once he begins his throw, the weight is transferred forward.
A common error is that catchers will leak into the right handed batters box instead of going directly towards 2nd. When doing dills, make sure there is a batter standing in. This forces the catcher to go directly towards 2nd and not have any wasted body movement.
Another error is that catchers get too tall when they throw. When they get into the throwing position, they should be in an athletic stance (Similar to how you would be standing if you were going to be guarding someone in basketball or a linebacker being in a good position to tackle except with the shoulders aimed down to second base).
High School & College coaches are always looking for great defensive catchers to be the backbone of their defense. If they are able to master the proper footwork for throwing runners out, there will be a spot for them in the lineup, regardless of their hitting skill.
Catching is one of the most undertrained skills across all ages of baseball, which is why we make a concerted effort to increase the level of attention that is allotted in practices to learning, training, and refining the proper mechanics and footwork behind catching.
If you have any questions concerning catching or would like to learn more from formr All-American JD Dorgan, please send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more from JD first hand at our facility, please click here to be redirected to his availability.
Additionally, Starters is hosting our annual Spring Club Tryouts on Saturday, February 16th, 2019 where JD will be coaching one of the teams as well as handing catching training during practices. If you would like to learn more information about Starters' Spring Club Program, please click here.