Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Confident signs from catchers

December 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Catching

Many high school programs are starting to have their pitchers throw.  Although most of the emphasis of these workouts are on the pitchers, catchers need this time to work on their needs as well.

Having worked with many high school catchers in my career, a common problem I’ve tended to see in most of these is a lack of confidence in being a leader.  Many of them don’t yet realize the positive impact they can have on a pitching staff.  In their mind, the pitcher does his job and the catcher does his.  The connection between the two often goes unnoticed and therefore is not worked on.

Don’t underestimate the power of confident signs.

This lack of confidence has consequences because pitchers pick up on that lack of confidence.  Here is a an example.  A pitcher looks in for the sign and sees the catcher mulling over the options.  After a hesitation, the catcher tentatively puts down the sign for the curve.  This may not bother an older, more confident pitcher but it can cause problems with those younger and less confident.  When this occurs a pitcher might think one or more of the following:

If he hesitated, is this really the best pitch to throw?  Should I shake him off and go with the fastball?  Does he not have confidence in my curve today?  Is it not breaking well?  Maybe my curve isn’t any good.  Obviously, not the thoughts a pitcher wants to have right before throwing a particular pitch.

One way a catcher, even one with low confidence in the pitcher or himself, can improve this is to always give “confident signs.”  A confident sign is one given quickly with no hesitation.  Catchers who do this all the time breed confidence in their pitchers because they give the following messages:

  • This is the exact pitch to throw!
  • Your curve is good and that’s why you are throwing it here!
  • This batter cannot hit your curve!

All are good messages to get especially if that pitcher lacks confidence.  Most coaches know that a confident pitcher can succeed with average stuff.  They also know that talented pitchers will get lit up if they are tentative.

If you are starting to have pitchers throw to catchers, it’s a good idea to have a talk with your catchers and explain the role they play in improving the confidence of the pitching staff.  There are a number of ways to do this but one easy way is promoting the idea of giving confident signs.

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