As a catcher, being able to block a wild pitch at a moment’s notice is a crucial skill for success. A key component to being able to effectively block pitches is lateral movements.
One way you can practice moving laterally is with the six-ball blocking drill.
“Explosive lateral movements are extremely important for catchers,” AJ Hamilton, a former Division I softball player, says. “By using the six-ball lateral blocking drill, catchers are able to focus on explosive lateral movements without the impact of a softball being thrown.”
HOW TO PRACTICE THE SIX-BALL BLOCKING DRILL
For the six-ball blocking drill, all you’ll need is yourself and, as the name suggests, six softballs. The steps for the drill are as follows:
- Begin by evenly spacing the six softballs so that they are about two feet apart.
- Get into a receiving position behind the first ball and then “block” it.
- Work down the line so that each ball is blocked.
- Once you reach the end of the line, repeat in the opposite direction.
It’s important that you practice blocking to both the left and the right so that your lateral movement is strong on both sides.
“As the athlete progresses, it can help speed and explosiveness to increase,” Hamilton says. “Quickness from side to side is crucial to being an effective blocker.”
The six-ball blocking drill isn’t the only drill that can help catchers become more effective blockers. For more tips on how to practice blocking fundamentals, check out the three-ball blocking drill.