Need advice for catcher trying to get to the next level

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May 24, 2013
So Cal
You are starting to sound like @RADcatcher

I don't like when a coach dictates that you throw way or another. Do what works best for the player and do what the play gives you. Ball in the dirt, catcher blocks the ball. No time to stand and throw. Knee throw. Pitch comes in high, gotta stand and throw.

Exactly! Using the whole tool box (13yo)...
Dec 2, 2013
Exactly! Using the whole tool box (13yo)...
DD has thrown out many runners on bad pitches, probably more than good pitches. Over the years, not having a good SS hurt her attempts. I don't know how many times the ball beat the SS and the Runner only to end up in centerfield. Picture dad pulling his hair out in quiet desperation.
May 21, 2019
My DD is a 14U player moving up to 16U in the Fall. She started catching almost 2 years ago. She has had limited game time but has been working a lot on her own to get better. She’s a player that’s been playing catch-up for some time now and has made great strides. She’s currently the second catcher, second 3rd base, plays outfield when needed and her coach wants her working middle infield too. It’s a lot. She works pretty much every day, quite a bit on batting and recently, mostly on fielding for 3rd and middle infield. She was trying to get in the starting lineup any way she could. The first catcher is absolutely better than her, probably the best player on the team, so she wasn’t going to start as catcher.

Well, it just so happens that the first catcher got injured going into PGF Nationals, they played the Premier division. So, in she went and played every inning as catcher all week – what a great opportunity for her - she almost doubled her lifetime catcher play time in one week. In many ways, she did amazing. She was literally a wall behind the plate, nothing going by her or dropped with a great drop ball pitcher who is notoriously hard to catch.

But, it became obvious what she needs to work on and I’m hoping you all can have some advice for her.
  • She needs to improve the velocity of her throw. Her throw and pop-time are fine but not great. She seems to be able to throw her own players out in practice but this past week she was not throwing girls out, many were close, but that only counts in horseshoes. I’ve seen the posts on the high level throwing method. Is there a catcher-specific one? Is that where we should go? It’s expensive so I want to make sure it’s worth the $$.
  • Because she has such little actual game time, I think having the batter there to throw around and the pressure of nationals threw her off her game a little. Any ideas of how to simulate game situations outside of games/team practice? They don’t typically work throws with batters in practice and I doubt she will get much more game time as the first catcher comes back until she gets better. Typically, she catches 1 game a tournament.
  • She will sometimes get what I’ll call the “yips” in her throwing. She typically has a good throw and is accurate. She’s had some great pickoffs and when playing 3rd always has a great throw. But every once in a while at catcher, she gets in her head and her mechanics are lost. Every pickoff attempt is wild. Well, that happened this week and I think because of the pressure of nationals and this being her “chance” to show what she can do, she couldn’t shake it. Any ideas on how to shake these “yips” in the moment. It's all mental, if she can just go practice 30 throws, I think it helps but pretty impossible during the game.
Finally, I’d appreciate any advice you might have around where she should be focusing her efforts. Perhaps it’s just too late to get to the level she needs to be at to be a catcher at this level. Should she throw in the towel? It seems like an endless circle. She needs game time to get better and she won’t get game time until she’s better.

She LOVES this game and I think could be great. She’s had some tough obstacles (I could write a book) thrown her way over the years and always just keeps working. I’m so proud of her and want to help her any way I can to be successful.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I appreciate any advice you can provide!

This is a great post with excellent feedback and comments. My DD is also a catcher and making the move up to 16U as well. Her team played PGF Platinum; so their teams missed each other. It sounds like our daughters' paths have some similarities.

My DD needs to increase her throwing velocity and has the occasional 'yips'. DD is working with a strength/conditioning coach which should translate into increased velocity. DD also needs to improve her throwing mechanics. She seems better at throwing off knees because she pushes off back knee; whereas, it seems that she doesn't push off back foot when throwing from feet.

When the yips happen, she starts losing focus on the game. She's thinking in her head what went wrong with the throw back to the pitcher. Then, she goes quiet behind the plate, communicating less with her pitcher and the defense. Even with the yips, she made big strides this past season with her confidence. She's not a big talker behind the plate, unless she feels a pitcher needs the vocal praise to boost her confidence.

Sorry for hijacking your post.

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