Are too many balls getting past your catcher so that runners are either taking extra bases or worse yet – scoring?
It could be that your pitcher has an awesome drop ball, or that your catcher needs to learn the Keys to Blocking balls in the dirt!
Blocking balls in the dirt is certainly not the glamour part of catching that throwing runners out at second is. But it’s the part that really makes or breaks your team. In order to have a confident pitching staff, your pitchers need to know that they can really break off their drop balls and they won’t get past the catcher in the dirt. Extra bases on balls that should have been stopped by the catcher really kills a team, so let’s look at how to keep that from happening.
Here are the key points to blocking, which with practice will ensure that passed balls are kept to a minimum:
- knees replace the feet as catcher drops down
- glove BLOCKS the gap between the legs
- hips raise forward and up off the lower legs
- shoulders curl forward to keep balls from glancing back to backstop
- Chin is tucked
- Keep glove down and use equipment to block the ball
- If blocking from the side make sure the chest is facing the back angle of the plate.
- BLOCK the ball don’t try to catch it!
If your catcher does it correctly, all balls should rebound out slightly in front of home plate, no matter what side of the plate the catcher blocks from.
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