Catching Tips

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Being a catcher for many years I have learned some catching tips that could help you improve your game and help your team out. These tips worked for me, so hopefully they will also work for you.

Tip #1: Be nice to the umpire!

It is very surprising how many catchers I saw that did not respect the umpire and were completely rude to him. The umpire is the guy who will be right behind you all game and is also responsible for calling balls, strikes, and outs in the game. This is not a figure you want to make an enemy out of. Being polite and nice to the umpire could get calls to go your way. I know it did for me in many games just because to the umpire, I seemed like a calm individual. Flying off the bad over a call will only worsen his mood.

Catcher and umpire shaking hands

Forming a good relationship with the umpire can go a long way.

Tip #2:Be the middle man

This relates to the last tip of being nice to the umpire. Being the middle man means you have to stand between your team and the umpire. Sometimes your teammates will start voicing their opinion over a bad call. You have the be the one to control them, calm them down, and be reasonable with the umpire. When you are reasonable with the umpire, they will be reasonable back. They will be likely to give you their perspective of why they called it the way they did.

They may also give you advice/tips on what could swing their call the way you want. Many times I have had the umpires tell me their exact strike zones and also when they expanded the zone in the later half of the game! This is very valuable information to have as a catcher! If you know these, you can start setting up farther away from the batter for example and get those pitches which used to be balls and get them called strikes!

Tip #3:Framing pitches further from the plate

This is one thing that I was very proud of being able to master that my pitchers LOVED! First thing that needs to happen for this is that your pitcher must have control working for him. If he is all over the place, then you will not being able to do this. If he is on, what I would do is throughout the game, keep moving further off the plate to widen his zone. I would get close to four baseball widths outside of the plate. It may seem pretty far, but the reason for this is that if he throws it 2-3 baseball lengths off the outside, my glove will move inward toward the plate. This illusion always looked like the pitch is near the plate and 99% of the time was called a strike. This is why your pitcher has to have control going for him as umpires are more likely to give you borderline calls if he knows the pitcher is consistent that day.

Jose Molina framing an inside pitch

Jose Molina frames an inside pitch that looks to be off the plate.

Tip #4:Do not show up the umpire

This tips is for when you are framing pitches. If the pitch is too far outside/low/high and you know it is a ball, do not frame it. Just throw it back to the pitcher. If you do frame those pitches you know are not even close, it will only annoy the umpire and that never ends well.

Tip #5:Painted nails

Yes, I really do mean to get your nails painted white. Well, sometimes at least. There are times that may come up that your pitcher is unable to see the signals you give him. To make it easier for him, you can use a bottle of white-out and paint your nails. Having your nails bright white will make them much easier to read for your pitcher so signals will not be crossed up. Below is a pitcher of a catcher with his nails painted.

You can achieve this buy using: white out, foul line chalk, or Game Sign stickers.

Catcher painted his nails

If your pitcher has a hard time seeing your signs, paint your nails to help him out.