I was able to grab a few photos of a recent game but unfortunately none of the images were of my guys doing things right. I basically shot about 30 frames full of mistakes. So, at their expense, we’re going to learn from them. I guess it’s just as good to see how not to do something as anything. I’d like to stay positive but what can you do?
So anyway, by far and away, the most common problem I see with catchers is with their exchange. Most catchers for some reason love to whip the ball and glove up to their ear when throwing. This sequence should show you what I’m talking about…
So this simple move creates so many problems I don’t even know where to start. First off, it robs the catcher of any arm strength that he might have. To throw the ball with any authority, you must have an arm arc. Now obviously, as a catcher, you don’t want the long arc of a pitcher or an outfielder. By the same token though, you don’t want the short arc of a second baseman. You need something like that of a shortstop. When you jerk the ball and glove up to the ear it cuts that arc almost to nil. It also doesn’t allow you any time to get that precious “4 seam grip” so the ball will fly true. Also, swinging your arms around your body like that creates a lot of trouble for balance. Stopping your momentum so that you are going directly towards second is tough when your arms are whipping around like an ice skater. More often than not you’ll over- rotate. The end result of this mess is that you are slower and don’t have any chance of delivering a throw with any velocity. It’s counterintuitive though. You feel faster making this quick move of the glove up to the ear. The problem is though (as you can see in the last frame) you end up strung out, with your lower body out- running the upper body. The bottom line with velocity and accuracy is when that left foot comes down your arm better be at the top of its arc and coming forward at full speed. Pulling the ball up to the ear creates no power. In the third frame you can see his lower body has finished its footwork and is ready to deliver a throw, but the arm is caught behind… trying to figure out how to create some power with no space to do it. The confusing thing and counterintuitive thing is that he thought his arm was ready to deliver a throw at the beginning of frame 2…way before his feet are ready to throw. It’s not until too late does he realize he’s got no power and is trying to throw the ball from a standstill. Most often guys end up with a little waggle or hitch as a last ditch effort to create some momentum. Imagine trying to shoot an arrow if you could only pull the arrow back a couple inches. Anyway, the timing gets all jacked up and the whole thing goes down the tubes.
The solution? Simple, make the exchange about 8-10 inches in front of the body and just leave the glove there. The ball gets into the hand early, has a chance to create a true arc as it travels back, and gives you plenty of time to find a nice grip. It also gives the upper and lower body a chance to work together resulting in proper timing. Hopefully all of that makes sense. If not, BUY THE BOOK for a more in depth study of this problem. I’ll show you some more problems tomorrow or the next day. Ciao.