Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Two tips for catching low strikes

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching

One big job for catchers is to help their pitchers get more strikes called on close pitches.  How they receive/catch the ball can play a large role in that.  In today’s video, Coach McCreary shows catchers two ways they can get more strikes called on low pitches.

Tip for catchers to help their coach on close pitches

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching, Coaching

“COME ON, UMP!  WHERE’S THAT PITCH?  LET’S GO!”” Sit close to a field and you will hear a lot of variations of the phrase above.  Quite often, what follows will be the umpire calling time-out, taking his mask off, and telling the coach(es) to pipe down or else they will be watching the rest of […]

Improve the last warm-up pitch before the inning

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

We’ve all seen it a thousand times … the catcher yells “Comin’ down!” before the last warm-up pitch by the pitcher.  At the higher levels, the catcher just puts his throwing arm out to the side and doesn’t yell anything.  The extended arm alerts the middle-infielder to be at the bag after the next warm-up […]

Why don’t more catchers drop a knee?

May 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching

Being a catcher has to be the most physically demanding job on a baseball field.  Heck, my knees hurt just warming up a pitcher for a few throws.  I can’t imagine squatting down day in and day out over the course of a 162 game schedule. This is why I can’t understand why more catchers […]

The (un)holy alliance between pitchers and catchers (Part 2)

April 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching

A few months ago I shared a photo that was circulating on social media which appeared to show a “dark substance” on the shin guard of a Major League catcher.  I implied that it was pine tar to help the pitcher.  I’m sure some people were not convinced.  To see that post and the photo, […]

Managing the 1st and 3rd play: A tip for catchers

January 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

One of the toughest plays for young teams is the 1st and 3rd play.  The runner on first base steals and if the catcher throws it to second, the runner on third scores.  If the catcher just holds it, you know have two runners in scoring position.  Add a rundown in there and all hell break […]

The (un)holy alliance between pitchers and catchers

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Catching

Here is a picture of Indians catcher Roberto Perez that was making the rounds on social media.  I added the red circle to focus your attention to the topic of discussion. Notice the dark brown spot on the throwing side shin guard?  What do you imagine that is?  If you said “pine tar” you would […]

Another option for catchers when blocking

September 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

Today’s video tip is another option for catchers concerning what to do with their throwing hand/arm while blocking.  Getting hit on the throwing hand/arm on balls in the dirt are not much fun.  Typically, catchers are taught to hide the hand behind the glove to protect it. Here’s another option I am seeing more and […]

Aggressive through the ball

Some phrases in baseball cover many different aspects of the game.  “Aggressive through the ball” is one of them.  Today’s video explains several ways it applies to baseball players.

Make the throws easy for the pitcher

December 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching, Video Posts

“Seriously?  You can’t make an accurate 50 foot throw to the pitcher?” I’ve never actually said that to a catcher … but I’ve darn well thought it!  And don’t lie.  I know you have too. As a coach, the last thing you want to be concerned about is will your catcher make good throws back […]

How to play catch – Sticking your catches

December 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield, Video Posts

Today’s video tip a another little thing that can go a long way in helping young players develop proper catching and throwing mechanics.  Sticking your catches promotes strong hands and helps to prevent a player from being at the mercy of the ball.  It’s great for young kids and even advanced catchers. HERE is the more […]

Batter’s interference

November 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching

Boy, there are so many things to write about concerning this year’s World Series. I’ll be writing about several but today’s is about something you don’t see very often.  And not because it rarely happens. To leadoff Game 4, Alcides Escobar singled and attempted to steal second base on a two-strike count to Ben Zobrist.  Zobrist swung […]

How to throw the ball back to the pitcher

November 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

Ever have catchers specifically do a drill that just requires them to throw the ball back to the pitcher correctly?  Probably not.  That’s because we just assume they should just know how to do it.   Most older kids just figure out how to get the ball back on their own through trial & error […]

World Series insights – Game 3 & 4

BONUS SUNDAY POST! These insights from Game 3 and 4 of the current World Series between the Mets and the Royals are in no particular order.  Once again, I provide links to posts and videos I’ve previously done that expand on these ideas.  Enjoy! Game 3: The Met’s catcher made a big mistake and let […]

2015 World Series insights – Game 1 & 2

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Base Running, Catching, Pitching

It looks like the Royals will make fast work of the Mets unless New York can turn that momentum around in a hurry.  Here is a list of some of the things I noticed from Game 1 and Game 2.  I also linked to previous posts and videos where I discussed or demonstrated that topic. […]

Another catching tip to get more strikes

June 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

The primary job for any catcher is to help pitchers get more strikes.  A catcher who is terrific at receiving is pure joy to throw to every game.  Today’s video tip is one of many tricks good catchers use to help get more strikes for the guy on the bump.

Traits of a good catcher

June 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching

I’ve been watching a lot of the MLB Draft commentary on TV and a common theme when discussions turn to catchers is that everyone wants a good catcher.  It’s been said many times that the fastest way to the major leagues is to be a good catcher.  I’m not sure if the stats match that […]

The ball is not getting past me

May 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield, Outfield

There are a lot of plays in baseball when catching the ball is just not going to happen.  On a steal attempt, the catcher  makes a bad throw and short hops the shortstop or second baseman.  A rocket is hit down to the third baseman.  A line drive is hit just in front of the outfielder. […]

Throw to the center of the plate

May 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

Tired of long games?  Sick of seeing pitchers nibble the corners and end up 2-0 to every batter?  If so, tell your catchers to set up right down the middle and knee high on every pitch until there are two strikes.  0-2 and 1-2, move to the corners.  If the count gets to 2-2, move […]

Catchers do not need to know who is covering

April 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching

On a recent video post I mentioned that we all have pet peeves as coaches.  In the video I explained why a shortstop yelling “inside” or “outside” to a first basemen on a 3-6-3 double play irks me.  To see the video, click HERE. Today’s post involves another one of my pet peeves.  This time […]

How to throw more strikes – visual tips

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching, Video Posts

Is there anything worse than watching a pitcher throw out of the strike zone over and over again?  Aside from yelling something stupid like “Throw strikes!“, are there any quick ways to get the kid back on track so that everyone can move on with their lives in less than three hours?  The answer is […]

Another myth about how catchers throw

December 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

A couple years ago I created a short video detailing the “Ball to Ear Myth” for catchers and the way they throw.  Another myth about how catchers throw goes like this – Catchers must be taught to throw straight over the top in order to prevent the ball from tailing to second or third base. […]

Look for this before snap throws to third

November 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Base Running, Catching

In May, 2011, I wrote a post titled Snap throws to third base.  I explained that the defensive team needs to look for runners who are not properly timing their plant foot landing (right foot ALWAYS!) as the pitch is crossing home plate.  Some runners will make the mistake of landing too late on that […]

No reflexive looks

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

A pitcher comes set, looks back to second base, looks to home, and throws a pitch.  The runner on second base leaves early and practically walks to third base for an easy steal.  “What the … ?  How did he not see his huge lead?  He was looking right at him!” A batter comes toward […]

Pitchout tips for catchers

September 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

Today’s video tips are for catchers who want/need to improve on pitchouts from the pitcher.  I don’t get into everything a catcher needs to be concerned about because that would have taken too much time.  In this segment I chose just a few things catchers should be aware of when performing the play. Tomorrow’s post: […]

Should a catcher angle his body when receiving?

August 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

The title of this post is a question I have received a couple times concerning catchers.  Today’s video tip is my answer. Tomorrow’s post:  Ankle weight drill for batters

Video – Another option for catchers on throws to third base

August 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

The throw to third base for catchers is not an easy one when there is a right handed batter standing in the batter’s box.  To deal with this problem, catchers should NOT … Step in front of the the batter towards the mound and then make the throw to third base. Throw over the head […]

The importance of framing

August 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

Anyone who says a good receiver behind the plate is overrated has probably never had a good one.  I personally have thrown to many catchers in my day and believe me, a good receiver is worth his weight in gold.  That’s why a good receiver can hit under .250 and spend many years in the […]

The fingers go between the head and ball

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield, Outfield, Pitching

Changing the way a young man throws a baseball is probably the hardest thing to do when it comes to private instruction.  However, if there was one thing I could adjust with every young player’s throwing motion it would be to make sure his throwing fingers were on top of and/or between the ball and […]

Keep your hands strong

June 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield, Pitching, Practice

Up until about the 1980’s, weight training was considered to be not very productive for baseball players.  Old time players felt lifting weights tightened up their bodies too much and didn’t prepare them for the functional flexibility required for running the bases and throwing a baseball.  When you look at all of today’s arm injuries […]

How to give a pitchout sign

May 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

In just about all levels of baseball, the catcher’s sign for the pitchout is the fist.  The catcher gets the sign from the coach, he puts the fist down, and the pitcher complies.  Pretty simple. When you get to the higher levels, however, this simplicity can make it easier for the other team (or base […]

Two out close plays at first base

Here’s the situation … runner on second base with two outs.  A ball is hit to an infielder who bobbles it and throws to first base.  The play at first will be a bang-bang play. If the runner is out, it’s inning over.  If the runner is safe, there is a very good chance the […]

10 strikes a game

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

Here is a quick tip/goal for catchers … Challenge yourself to get your pitcher 10 more strikes a game. To accomplish this, catchers need to be good in the following areas: Keeping movements behind the plate to a minimum. Beat the ball to its location so you can catch with the glove moving inward. Have […]

Tag plays and collisions at home plate

March 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

You are probably aware of the new MLB rule that attempts to ban collisions at home plate.  There has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of the rule and whether it will actually work.  I see validity on both sides but all things considered, I like the rule. My worry, however, […]

Why catchers should keep their masks on

March 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

Except when a catcher is fielding bunts, getting under pop-ups, or involved in rundowns, catchers should always keep their masks on.  This is especially true on plays at the plate.  Why? That’s why. Tomorrow’s post:  Level of mastery

Catchers – Learn from your pain

February 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

Although catching was never my primary position, I’ve done enough of it in games to know that it is tough on the body.  Foul tips off the shoulder and thighs, bouncing balls into your forearms, collisions at the plate, and many other painful events make catching a position many kids want to avoid. For those […]

Catchers: Sway to the ball or reach?

February 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

The primary job for all catchers is to get more strikes for their pitchers.  As a result, the technique involved in receiving pitches is something catchers cannot practice enough. One debate among catching people is whether or not a catcher should reach for the pitch or sway to the pitch.  In today’s video post I […]

Catchers … at the knees!

January 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching

The photo below shows another one of my pet-peeves when I watch young kids play baseball.  Unfortunately, it reaches into the high school level once in a while too.  See if you can figure it out. Answer:  The target is too high. Every hitter in the known universe likes the pitch out over the plate […]

Signal options for catchers

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

Yesterday’s post was about catchers giving signals during throwing sessions.  I thought I’d give a few options for catchers when it comes to giving signs. The options below are generally done when there is a runner at second base.  You mix the signs up so that the runner will not know what the pitch will […]

Throwing with signals

January 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

 Here’s a quick suggestion for pitchers and catchers now that the throwing season is starting up: When pitchers start throwing from a mound, have them get a sign from the catcher first.  Even if all they are throwing is fastballs.  Here are three reasons: This is what they are going to have to do during […]

Leads and snap throws to third base

November 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Base Running, Catching, Video Posts

When you see a major league catcher attempt a snap throw pickoff  to any base, you can assume somebody saw something that led to the play.  The third baseman may have noticed the type of lead the runner on third took during the pitch.  Someone on the bench may have noticed something else.  Whatever the […]

The one hop throw to second base

August 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching

One of the biggest challenges for young players is transitioning to larger fields.  Many of the mistakes that players can get away with on small fields just don’t fly on big fields.  There are so many examples of this.  Today’s post is one regarding catchers. When kids start to play on the larger fields, runners […]

Pop-up drills for catchers

August 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching

When practicing pop-up drills for catchers, there are a number of ways you can do it.  The best way, as shown in yesterday’s post, is with a pitching machine.  If you do not have one available, it is virtually impossible to mimic the  infield drift part of the play unless you are gifted with a […]

Practicing for Infield Drift

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching

In yesterday’s post I explained the concept of infield drift.  Unfortunately, there is really only one way to practice this play effectively and that means using a pitching machine.  Of course, if you have an advanced degree in hitting pop-ups with a fungo then you are all set.  Most coaches don’t have the ability to […]

Infield drift

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield

A batter hits a ball straight up over home plate a mile high.  A “home run in an elevator shaft” as they say.  The catcher rips his mask off, turns his back to the infield (like he should), and confidently screams “I got it!”   When the ball starts to come down the catcher starts […]

When should a catcher go to the mound?

July 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching

At the major league level you will often see catchers call time-out and take a trip to the mound to have a word with their pitcher.  Usually these trips are not called for by coaches.  The catchers decide when the time is right.  At the lower levels, catchers are usually hesitant to call time-out and […]

Losses go next to the pitcher’s name

April 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

If you are a fan of the film Bull Durham, you probably remember the scenes where the catcher, Crash Davis, tells the batter what pitch is coming.  The reason for telling the batter was to get back at the pitcher for shaking off his signs.  Clearly Crash Davis didn’t appreciate the rookie pitcher calling his […]

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 […]

Catchers, please stay still

March 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching, Video Posts

At the major league level, it has become quite the fad to have catchers move to their location late into the pitcher’s delivery.  I can’t stand it.  I hated it as a pitcher and I hate it as a coach.  Although there may be more reason to do this at the higher levels, I still […]

Seminar – It all starts with defense (Part 2)

March 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Catching, Infield, Outfield, Video Posts

This is the fifth of seven videos from a coaching clinic I participated in at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA. The clinics were presented to mostly Little League coaches.  The purpose was to pass on a basic foundation of the game to all the coaches.  I am posting all of the seminars – […]

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