In need of bucket parent 101

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Dec 19, 2021
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Not advice. But all the safety toe shoes posts remind me of when my dd was learning the drop curve. So many balls at my feet. So I decided it would be smart to wear steel toe shoes. So one pitch was low and I was on the bucket and reached forward. I was barely perched on the edge of the bucket and the ball skipped under my glove. Hit that steel toe at about 54 mph and shot straight up my leg.

As a father you can imagine the tender bits that are straight up one’s leg. I heard a woosh of air and realized it was me. It was that pain that you taste before it registers.

I’m now on the barn floor, on my side and I look over at my dd who is literally inching her was toward to door to go get mom. I told her I was OK and give me a minute. Then I said it’s ok if you laugh as I knew it must have looked hilarious. Composed myself, caught 2 more pitches and told her we were done for the day.

I never went after a low pitch after that. Never sat on the edge of the bucket either. Less then a year later I was in a catchers helmet shin guards and a cup every time we practiced.
I usually sit on a stool that is also a toolbox (the top opens). It's pretty solid and I sit about as far back as I can get. Nothing is coming through from underneath. And I sit a bit side-saddle.
 
Jan 25, 2022
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Yup, I wear boots (in the winter). Flip flops in the summer.

I'm on borrowed time, for sure.

I cut ties with flip flops a few months ago. I wore them constantly. Since working from home that's all I wore unless I went to softball or somewhere where I HAD to have shoes.

One good slip/fydroplane on the garage floor on a rainy day and I completely tore off my big toenail. Now my footwear around the house are these Hey Dude's I've always made fun of on other people.
 
Aug 3, 2022
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Thank you very much! This is extremely helpful and exactly what I needed.

She is currently throwing into a 9 box working on corners and learned a change up three weeks ago and her coach is talking about adding a drop. But she said it would be more fun to have a live catcher sometimes instead of just throwing in the 9 box.

This all happened very quickly this fall when injuries and other stuff made her team in need of a pitcher. To her credit she threw her heart into it and practiced 5 days a week and went from 42mph 40% strikes 3rd string rec pitcher to 48mph 65% strikes in about 8 weeks. Credit is also due to her fabulous (IR teaching) pitching coach.

But my learning curve was not as steep as hers and I’m a little scared what spring will bring.

Just got my new glove and am excited to have way more padding than her outgrown fielding glove.
I would suggest bringing the bucket when DD is fairly consistent with her pitches and spotting. If she's still wild, the bucket causes more pain (literal physical pain) for you. Some pitches are harder to catch when you're on the bucket.

Low drop balls around the edges are really hard in particular. You have to work hard to get your legs out of way or get your mitt in front of your legs. Forget about catching anything in the dirt. Its a matter of survival at that point. I have several scars on my legs and one on the side of my head before I bought shin guards and helmet.

I recommend getting the full catching gear. It doesn't need to be top line. Helmet and shin guards are must haves.

Good luck!
 
Nov 18, 2015
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If you are concerned about your toes, some shin guards will have two metal pins on the toe flap that allow you to add an extender onto them. Won't stop all of them, and still wouldn't recommend the flip-flop method, but should add some extra protection.

Looking further - the mizuno's may have an extra flap built in, but it may be only the All-Stars that have the extenders:
 
Oct 4, 2018
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The kid’s dad before us at pitching lessons used to bring in a boogie board to protect his legs while catching on the bucket. I thought it was weird at the time, but effective.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

And cost-effective. Get one of those cheapos at the beach. Would work fine. And be fun as your DD destroys it.
 
Jul 29, 2013
6,031
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North Carolina
So- what’s the best way for me to learn to catch better before she gets even more scary fast?
To just do it! There's really no other way to put it, lots of reps, lots of bruises! Know how to get the mitt out front, beat the ball to it's spot and watch it into the pocket! And for someone new, target spots are toes, ankles, shins, your nose and your teeth, protect them!!

Anna's pitching coach her last two years of HS was insanely talented, she could definitely walk the walk! She used to like to work with two girls at a time, didn't matter if it was a college senior and a 8th grader together, she knew very well how to bring out the competition in both girls and and pair them up head to head in a way to make it fair to the younger girl. Some of the best I've ever seen my DD pitch was in these head to head clashes with some girls we don't even know!

Sorry, I'm rambling, brought up Anna's PC to say....there's probably 8 to 10 different mom's I've sit next to on a bucket at her facility, some were impressively good, others were scary and had me worried, but they all took a beating, she tends to have some really fantastic pitchers! There's this one girl named Maddie who just signed to D1 USC Upstate, the PC would call me to drive down there (25/26 miles) to catch her. Her mom finally said no more, that's enough! She would pay me for my time. Of course I'm used to my DD, she don't hurt me, too often, but what's funny is Anna would hurt other guys who caught her?

My first time catching this girl, she knocked me off of the bucket 2 or 3 times, the only thing I kept thinking about was...this girl's mom is a badass cause she's wearing me out!! She was younger than Anna, and that was in 2019, I think? First time I caught her she was throwing around 60 but could spin the crap out of it, and was a touch wild, but I knew she was going to be the real deal!

Tell you what, watching a 40 / 50 something year old mom handling their DD that's bringing it 60+ and with nasty spin is pretty impressive!
 
Aug 13, 2018
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Huge props to you getting out there. My wife won’t catch either of my girls. My older one isn’t very fast, high 40s maybe touching 50 at 14U but wins by placing and spinning the ball and keeping the batters off their toes.

But my 10U girl is mid 40s already and more wild since, you know, 10U (I just posted a video of her 4 month improvement) and is really scary to my wife from 35’. So she refuses to catch either.

I’ve taken so many shots off my shins (ones a righty, ones a lefty, and they tend to hit the opposite leg when they miss) that I think they are fairly permanently bruised. I really should wear shin guards but I’m an idiot. Wouldn’t think of catching in sandals though, I’m not THAT dumb.
 

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