The catchers’ technique should remain constant each time signals are given and then setting up to receive the pitch. Giving signs as a catcher must become second nature and not be a thinking process of what is being relayed to the pitcher. This technique will be perfected through practicing the tips below.
The first catcher technique will be to relax the mitt off the front of the knee. The catcher then makes eye contact with the pitcher and be certain that the pitcher is engaged with the rubber (if the pitcher is not engaged with the rubber and the signal is given that is a balk). In most situations the catchers’ technique for giving signals will be given with the throwing hand and will be relayed to the pitcher on a number sequence. In this catcher technique the signal hand will be placed directly against the cup of the catcher. The catcher will make sure that the pitcher maintains a visual focus on the signs until all signals for pitch and location are completed. The pitcher will then agree with the signal with a non verbal indication that they are ready to start the delivery.
There are different situations in a game in which base runners will have an opportunity to see and potentially relay the signals from the catcher to their teammates; therefore the signals must be mixed up so that the offensive team does not know what pitch is being called. Some options for this is “out’s plus one” meaning that if there is zero outs the first pitch called would be the “live” sign, and if one out then the second signal would be the “live” sign. There are many variations of pitch calling sequence that may be used including touches to the mask for fastball; change up could be a touch to the chest protector. Some catchers choose to paint their throwing hand fingers and or fingernails; this will enable the pitcher to see the signals easier during a night game.
The second catcher technique is receiving stance and should remain constant in order for the pitcher to see the same target every pitch. The feet of the catcher are a slightly wider than shoulder width and the throwing side foot will be slightly placed behind the glove foot. The hips will parallel to the knees in a comfortable position for the catcher. The lower body positioning must allow the catcher to be able to move laterally to block a pitch, and or move to field a bunt or a pop up that is hit close to the plate. The glove will be placed out front of the catcher directly in front of the sternum in order to see the pitcher over the target, and elbow over top of the knee. The palm of the glove hand should be facing the sky in order to allow the pitcher to see the mitt as a larger open target.
When a catcher is setting up in a receiving stance the hand will be placed in a fist position behind the knee with the thumb wrapped with the fingers. This will protect the fingers and thumb in case the ball comes in contact with the hand. The hand should stay in this position throughout the pitch even if the catcher needs to block the ball. The thumb will pop the two “power” fingers up in order to grasp the ball (with two fingers and thumb) in order to throw it back to the pitcher or to a fielder in case there is an attempt at a stolen base.
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