For catchers, being able to block the ball effectively is a necessary skill to have on the field. A good block can help your pitcher’s confidence and help keep baserunners from advancing easily.
One drill you can perform to help instill a proper blocking technique is the line blocking drill. Former professional baseball player Dan Mooney says the line blocking drill can be great for teaching proper form and emphasizing staying low and direct to the ball.
THE LINE BLOCKING DRILL SETUP
To begin the line blocking drill, you’ll first need to line up your baseballs. Take six or more balls and arrange them in a staggering, zig-zagging fashion in front of your start position. Next, get into a secondary catching stance behind the first ball. At your start, you should slide out to the next ball in line and imitate a block.
Once you’ve completed the block, pop back up into a secondary stance and repeat the same slide, block, recover pattern. Continue this process until you’ve reached the end of your line.
According to Mooney, you want to make sure you gain ground toward the baseball when you slide out to make the block. Cutting the distance between you and the ball can help limit the travel between the ball and your chest. Less travel can mean less chance of a ball getting past you in a game scenario.
“We’re going to want to make sure we’re staying low, we’re gaining ground to the ball, we’re being direct to the ball,” Mooney says.
Lastly, when sliding out to make a block, be sure you’re aligning the ball with the center of your body. Having this layout can help you control the block more and help keep the ball in front better.
Blocking is an essential tool for all catchers. Build your skills through the line blocking drill and help your team one blocked ball at a time.