Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

A catcher’s sign to his coach

April 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching, Coaching

One of the many challenges of a coach is handling arguments over balls and strikes.  Any argument can immediately get you ejected so coaches certainly have to tred lightly in that area.  One of the best ways to deal with that is to have your catcher give you a sign when a pitch was absolutely a strike.

A coach may be able to tell very easily whether a pitch was in the strike zone in relation to its height.  The angle from where the coach is located (off to the side) allows him to judge high and low very well.  What a coach cannot tell very easily is inside or outside.  The ump has the best angle for that one since he is behind the plate.  But the catcher has that same angle too which is why he needs to give you a signal.

It works like this …

A catcher receives a pitch right on the corner which is absolutely a strike.  The ump calls it a ball.  The catcher (if his coach is sitting to the right of him) takes his bare right hand and places it on his right knee which lets the coach know that pitch was absolutely a strike.  If the catcher does not put his hand on his knee on a close pitch, the coach knows it was a ball and doesn’t say anything.  The catcher should do all this while continuing to look out towards the pitcher.  If he turns his head all the time to look at his coach, the ump will begin to figure out what the catcher is doing and probably will give him some heat about it.  Just a quick, casual touch on the knee while looking out at the pitcher is all that is needed.

This process helps the coach pick his spots a little better.  Nothing is more annoying than a coach who thinks that every pitch his guy throws is a strike and every pitch an opposing pitcher throws is a ball.  Umps hate these coaches.  A coach who only speaks on pitches that are absolutely strikes has more credibility and respect by umpires.  Of course, how you react and what you say certainly can add or detract from that credibility.  The point is, if you know when a pitch is absolutely a strike, you have more leverage.

You may have noticed that I’ve used the word “absolutely” several times.  That was not by accident.  Catchers need to be told that the pitch must be “absolutely” a strike without any doubt before the signal is given.  Borderline pitches go to the umpire in my book.  At least at the younger levels.

A coach can handle pitches North or South in the zone.  A signal from the catcher is a good strategy for those that are East and West.

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