Softball Catcher Tips: Receiving the Ball

Improve your receiving game and maximize your performance with this simple drill.

One of the main duties a catcher is responsible for is receiving the pitch. To do this properly, you’ll want to have soft hands and a firm wrist. Soft hands will help you catch pitches, while a firm wrist will help to keep the pitch in place after the catch is made. After you receive the ball, your mitt should be held in place. You don’t want the mitt to move up, down or to either side. This allows the umpire to have a good view to make the right call.

POSITIONING

Keep your knuckles up to the sky and make sure your body is balanced. Your glove elbow should be below your hand to create some leverage. Keep the target nice and low and extend to meet the pitch.

THE TENNIS BALL DRILL

One drill to help with these mechanics is the tennis ball drill.

First, start in a relaxed primary stance without a mitt. Have your coach toss a tennis ball to different points in the hitting zone from about 10 feet away. Track the ball from your coach’s hand. You’ll catch the ball with your bare hand, helping with concentration. You’ll also work on keeping your hands relaxed and holding or “framing” the ball in place for a second or so.

Once you’ve mastered that form of the drill, switch it up. Get into your secondary stance, have your coach throw actual softballs to you and catch them with your mitt. Maintain the same sense of balance, relaxed hands, and the tracking and framing from before, but this time with your mitt. As you continue to improve, your coach can back up or speed up his pitches to make this drill more challenging and help prepare you even more for receiving pitches behind the plate.