Among young catchers, two common problems stand out: a lack of stability, and a lack of power when throwing from home plate. The following drills seek to improve technique in both of those areas, and help coaches identify catchers who may be struggling with either.Head Stability & Balance
When trying to generate power, many catchers jerk their heads dramatically to the left and/or collapse the front side of their bodies. This drill can help with both. A coach (or another player) stands in the right handed batter's box with his left hand extended to the point where the catcher's head will be when they come out of their crouch in the proper position: knees slightly bent, staying low, butt out. That coach or player keeps his hand in that position while the catcher makes throw after throw. The catcher's mask must meet the hand! This ensures the catcher doesn't lunge forward or pull off to the left (which is why the coach or player is in the right handed batter's box). When a catcher lunges or swings open to the left he loses the drive generated by his lower half, and also takes his throwing arm out of the proper slot, altering the release point and losing the advantage of having the proper angle at release. These habits cause throws to sail high and/or to the catcher's arm side.
Lower Body Drive
Young catchers often stand straight up and throw only with their upper bodies, rather than utilizing their lower halves as well. If you have a catcher struggling with this, have him go through the throwing motion, first at half speed, gradually building up to full speed during the course of the drill. After release, have him throw his back leg forward toward the pitcher's mound in an exaggerated fashion. This helps engage the hips, connecting the lower and upper body, and generating more power in the throw. It's critical that the upper body remains in control, and the head remains still and locked on the target. One thing that must be corrected is the back leg coming across the body and turning toward the right handed batter's box. Instead, make sure his right foot fires out directly toward the mound, landing 6-10 inches out in front of home plate.
Kevin Wheeler is a former college player, All-Star Performance Instructor, and sports radio personality. Additional education resources for players, coaches and parents are available at gamesacademy.net.
From GameChanger and Kevin Wheeler.