Blinking is a natural reaction when a ball is flying directly at you, but it’s not helpful at all to a catcher.
Uncover 3 tips for helping teach your catchers to keep those eyes open.
I’ve always used the following 3 things to help catchers whenever they have a problem blinking during the catch:
- All catchers have to blink but use the blink to your advantage – Instead of blinking as the pitch nears the glove, blink as the pitcher releases the ball, and then keep the eyes open on the pitch. It tends to really help.
- Watch the middle of the ball as it enters the catching zone – instead of sometimes getting softer or a bigger focus with your eyes. Catcher’s eyes can get tired and when that happens their focus gets bigger so they take in too much visual information. Instead, catchers need to keep their eyes relaxed so they can tune out everything except the middle of the ball since they must not only see the ball, but be able to accurately know where it will end up.
- Catching dots in practice – Get a bunch of balls and on each ball draw circles with a magic marker about the size of dimes and fill them in. Each ball should have 4 different dots on 4 sides and each dot is the same color – but have about 2-3 different colors mixed in among all the dot-balls. Then have your pitcher mix these “dots balls” in with her regular practice balls. The object is for your catcher to focus on the ball closely enough to be able to say out loud whether it was a “dot-ball” and “what color dot-ball” it was.
For more catching help check out the following: