6 Drills to Improve Catcher Throwing Mechanics

catcher throwing mechanics and drills

In this article, I show you proper catcher throwing mechanics along with 6 simple drills for softball and baseball players.

Introduction

First, I have two of my student catchers here to help me demonstrate these drills: Olivia and Samantha.
Olivia is an incoming sophomore and Samantha is an upcoming senior. 
Samantha will be playing softball at the university of Florida in the Spring of 2022.

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Table of Contents

Players, coaches, and parents ask for my advice regarding softball and baseball equipment.
As a result, I compiled a list of the baseball, softball, and coach’s equipment I recommend below.

Video Tutorial

There are many things which are difficult to explain with words and images.
So, checkout the video tutorial below and be sure to subscribe to our channel.

Scott Hemond – Major League Baseball Catcher

I was a catcher in the big leagues.

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My catching coach in professional baseball was Bob Boone who held the record for the most games caught in Major League Baseball.

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Carlton Fisk broke Bob Boone’s record and I played with him during my days with the Chicago White Sox.

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Ivan Rodriguez, Texas rangers hall of famer, broke Carlton Fisk’s record for the most game caught.

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Over the years, I’ve learned many catcher drills, tips, and fundamentals from some of the best catchers on the planet.

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The 2 most common challenges for skilled catchers and young catchers are throwing mechanics and game readiness.

This article provides a solution for both of these challenges.

Catcher Game Readiness

The catcher is the leader of the defense and the most important player on the field.
However, baseball and softball catchers spend most of their time helping softball or baseball pitchers warm up or chasing down wild pitches.

What About the Catcher?

Who gets the catcher warmed up before the game?
When do catchers practice their footwork and accurate throws to bases before the game?

Obviously, you know the answers to these rhetorical questions if you are a catcher.

Often times, managing base runners and the running game decides if a team wins or loses.
The catcher throw from home plate to 2nd base is the toughest throw in baseball and softball.
It tests a player’s arm strength, footwork, and lower body.

A catcher must find time to get themselves ready for the game.

The Catcher’s Union

Remember, we call it the catches union for a reason.
It’s been named the catchers union for a long long time.

We look out for each other and work with each other because nobody else gives us the work we need.
The catchers get to use the field once a week at best to work on our throwing mechanics.

So, we have to take care of our mechanics on our own time.

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Catcher Warm Up and Preparation Drills

Each catcher drill in this article helps catchers improve pop time, throwing technique, and body control for a more actual throw.

More importantly, these drills allow catchers to work on throwing while standing up or from the catcher position behind home plate.

Ultimately, these are our ground balls, our bullpen, and when we get our stuff straight. 

Even catchers with a strong arm won’t get better only throwing between innings. 

Catcher Throwing Mechanics

We’re going to talk about throwing right off the bat.

I don’t see many people coming up with a lot of creative ways to teach catcher throwing mechanics.

Progressional Training

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I use progressional training to train youth catchers, college, and professional baseball players.
In fact, professional players use this type of training more than anything else.
So, everything I do is progressional training such as my hitting system.

We slow it down, get it together, and we start to speed it up. 
You start out at the minimum and add difficulty to increase the feel. 

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Ultimately, I use drill progressions to teach proper mechanics and to warm up before games.

6 Catcher Throwing Drills and Mechanics

Remember, you can do these drills every day, before games, standing up playing catch, or from a catcher’s stance.

1 – The Russian Drill

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First, cross your arms and take your front shoulder straight up.
Also, you can do this while simulating different pitches.
Your weight should go back to your right foot.
Now, you can drive ball with your back leg and lower half over to second base with your glove tight in view.

This catcher throwing mechanics drill allows you to pull your hips under with proper footwork.

2- The Teeter

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WIth this drill, your head stays over the line which is especially important for young players.
Then, you need to pull the hips under so your head stays over the line 

You need to get as much weight to the back side over the back leg as you can, as soon as you can.
I recommend you do the Teeter drill while pretending to catch the ball in different spots.

Every time you do this drill, your front shoulder comes up and pulls the hips under.
Next, your weight goes back and you are in a great spot to generate a powerful throw.

You keep your butt down so you can work underneath the ball and get to the proper release point.

3 – Hands Up

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I see you players get anxious and lean forward.
Their rear end comes up, hands go down, and they aren’t in good position to do anything. 

First, use your two hands and put them up in front of your face.
While leaning back, you come out of it with your hands going up.
The hands push you back and you should feel your weight go back.
The shoulder goes forward, weight goes to the left knee, push, and throw.

As with all these drills, you can do this catcher throwing drill standing up or from behind home plate.

4 – Bounce and Down

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First, bounce the ball with your throwing hand.
Go down with the ball and adjust to the ball so you get below the ball to bring the ball up.

If you go down and the ball bounces up and hits you in the face, you are leaning over.
As we always say, we’re going down the elevator right not over the waterfall. 

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From a catcher’s stance, your weight should shift over your left leg.
Also, your butt should go over your left heel.
When this happens, I can explode up and that’s going to lift my front side.

5 – Bounce and Go

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You do the same thing as the previous catcher throwing drill.
However, as your right foot hits the ground, make a quick release, and get rid of it.
This promotes a quick first move to your target with a fast arm action.

Your elbows better be close to the body.
If not, you will go sideways and this will cause you to not be able to throw the ball.

Remember, the right foot does not accept energy 

As soon as you catch the ball, your right foot is pushing as soon as it hits the ground.

Don’t worry about velocity in this drill. 
Try to stay straight with short hands. 
If your front arm is short, your throwing arm will be also.
If your front arm is long, your throwing arm is long and we don’t want it to be.

When your right foot hits the ground, push and get over.
The directional force will keep you on line

A lot of these things are meant just to teach you guys how to basically do the footwork.

6 – Ski Poles

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So, the ski pole catcher throwing drill requires you to pretend you are holding ski poles.

First, stick the ski poles in the ground and pull yourself forward with the throwing arm and glove arm.
The shoulders lunge forward, down, and stick the poles in the ground. 
You pull your chest forward while the right foot and left foot are going forward.
Then, make strong throw.

Again, this drill keeps you going in the right direction.

Catcher Throwing Tip

As a quick tip, always keep the catcher’s glove in your view.

Don’t bring the ball and glove all the way back, which is common for younger players.

This increases the time you have to travel to get in a proper throwing position which leads to slower releases.
Get your hand out of your glove and get your glove going to second base.

Keep your glove in view the whole time and in front of you even as you are throwing.

Indicators for Improper Throwing Mechanics

Although a simple observation of the act of throwing reveals most problems, catchers should also pay attention to other indicators.

Falling Left or Right

If you are falling left or right while throwing, try to stay on one leg after throwing.

This also works even if you don’t think you are falling off the left or right.
You want to make sure your energy is going straight towards your target.
If you are falling off to the left or right, you won’t make accurate throws.
The ball will sail all over the place. Plus, there is a batter right there.

You have a much better chance if your energy is going forward.

Ball Coming Off Hand

The other test you want to do to make sure you throw the ball properly is simple.

If you pull on top of the ball, your hand’s going to be pulling down from the top.
Many people want to push the bottom of the ball which causes the arm to drop and sink. 

If the arm sinks, you will sail the ball.

When the ball is thrown correctly, your arm will snap like a cobra.

Perform Catcher Throwing Drills from Home Plate

When you’re doing these drills, get any infielder such as a second baseman, shortstop, or third baseman to stand at second base to receive your throws.

Remember, a throw to second base from a catcher’s stance will test the accuracy of the throw and give you a feel for the entire process.

Once you get warmed up, you can do these drills from the ground and go at maximum velocity for a strong accurate throw…

Warm Up, Form Up, Time Up, Game – just like hitting.

By now, you’ve done all the drills and they seem like second nature. 
You’ve warmed up, got hips under, head straight, elbows in, chin licked on target, directional force, walkways finishing straight, pulling down the arms, and recoiling. 

Now, you are ready for any potential base stealer.

Conclusion

Remember, a good throwing catcher is worth his weight in gold.
This holds true for youth, high school, minor league, and major league baseball.
Base stealers fear them and think twice before stealing a base.

I hope the proper catcher throwing mechanics and drills in this article help you get ready for the game.
We will have more catching drills coming up, so check back soon.

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Thank you in advance for your support!

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