As Ron Davini says, “Catching is the most looked at yet also the most under taught [aspect of baseball]. When I was playing, coaches would put the big fat kid behind the plate and expect him to block. This is no longer the case; the game has evolved.”
Davini trains “good receiving catchers” by a catching progression. First he has the catchers catch with bare hands and tosses tennis balls softly at them. Then, because “catchers have a tendency to blink when they catch the ball , I will throw tennis balls very quickly, to work on keeping their eyes open.”
He also works on not jamming thumbs on low pitches by “catching the middle to upper part of the ball and working around it.”
Another thing that catchers must have is a leadership mentality. Davini said, “ I believe catchers to be the heart and sole of the team. Catchers must lead vocally, by keeping the pitcher calm and focused as well as by reminding the infield what to do in the situation. They also need to lead through their actions.”
To help build this, he is strong believer in catchers calling their own pitches but also having coaches talk to them on why they called a certain pitch in the situation.
He believes that in order to make a good catcher, a coach must “build the best family environment possible.” He needs to make sure catchers aren’t only concerned with their own stats, and “that the team always comes first.”
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