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Who Should Call a Game?

No matter whether it’s in baseball or softball, one question always seems to be a hot-button issue. Which is better: let catchers call their own game, or should the coach call it from the dugout?

There’s possibly no one right answer, but almost every coach has his or her own personal opinion and methodology. For North Forney (Texas) High School Softball Coach Andrew Delozier, the question of whether or not his catcher calls her own game rests on one factor — experience.

Delozier is fortunate enough to have a senior catcher who he has been working with the past three seasons, a veteran he trusts enough to let her call her own game.

“I’ve worked with her for three years now, so this year I’ve turned her loose to let her call her own pitches. She’s going to Louisiana Tech (University) and she’s had some good training in the summer,” Delozier said. “I feel real confident in her abilities, but before that first couple years I needed to work with her and she could get an idea of what I was calling and learn from that.”

Of course, once his team starts the playoffs, Delozier said he’ll resume calling pitches from the dugout for one reason.

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“I don’t want her to have all that pressure of doing that because sometimes kids get fearful of making mistakes and plus it helps me chart exactly what was called instead of having to guess,” Delozier said. “Especially when you’re playing teams back-to-back, you want to know what you threw them the day before.”

Coaches call their own pitches for a variety of reasons, but for Delozier, it’s not an issue of control. Instead, he feels he is better able to get a big-picture view of the entire field from the dugout than his catchers can from behind the plate. However, he feels that can be a learned skill with his current senior catcher being a prime example.

“As talented as some of these kids are, they still have a tendency to just not really think about it with the eyes of a coach and through the perspective of, ‘OK, in this situation we’re trying to get the ball hit here,’ and they’re just trying to get the kid out, but we’re maybe trying to get a double-play ball or a pop up in a situation,” Delozier said.

But Delozier admits there are few rewards in his job quite like when he sees the proverbial light bulb go on with his catchers or even his pitchers. For Delozier, it’s that moment of instant recognition that all those film sessions and bits of advice he’s offered over the past few seasons have finally sunk in and are being applied on a consistent basis.

“It’s amazing how many times that (my catcher) is thinking exactly the same thing or she’s saying exactly the same thing that I’m thinking,” Delozier said. “That’s just because for three years we’ve been thinking and talking the same thing. It’s comforting actually because you feel you can trust that kid back there.”

From GameChanger and Stephen Hunt.

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Softball

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