One of the main duties as a catcher is to receive the ball. However, there’s more to this skill than catching the incoming pitch. Properly receiving the baseball can help steal strikes for your pitcher and paint a better picture for the umpire making calls. A great tool to help you strengthen your receiving skills is the barehand receiving drill. Former professional baseball player Dan Mooney has a breakdown of this helpful catching exercise.
SETTING UP THE DRILL
The barehand receiving drill sets you in a primary catching position with your thighs resting on your calves. Your chest should be up, with your eyes forward and glove hand extended and ready to receive the ball. As the name suggests, you won’t use your catcher’s mitt when completing this exercise.
PERFORMING THE DRILL
For the barehand receiving drill, have your coach or teammate toss you baseballs from in front of the plate. Aim to catch each ball with your bare hand, particularly with your fingertips. Once you receive the ball, either drop it in front of your stance or toss it to the side. The barehand receiving drill works best when you have a bucket of balls at your disposal.
“The key points we’re looking at here is receiving the ball out in front of our eyes, [having] soft hands, catching it in our fingertips,” Mooney says. He also notes to stick each reception, emphasizing holding your hand position for the umpire to see. Try not to dunk your pitches, or drop your hand during the catch. Look to receive each ball where it’s pitched.
The barehand receiving drill can help you build the muscle memory and skill set needed for in-game success. Use this drill to get a grip on your receiving game from behind the dish this season.
Want to quicken the pace with your receiving training? Check out the barehand rapid-fire drill for a more up-tempo catching drill.