As we integrate the Yakkertech balltracker system with more and more colleges, we are frequently engaging in discussions with coaches about the many ways to use the data. Those conversations are often not only including catchers, but focused on the importance of the catcher to a pitcher. One catcher recently said, “I need to be the pitcher’s best friend.”
Catchers need to discuss the data with their pitcher
In a recent blog, we discussed the importance of the catchers knowing all the data from the pitching sessions where ball data is collected. They not only need to know it, but need to have thorough conversations with their pitchers about what the data is telling them. Some pitchers may engage this on their own, but if not, then the catcher needs to do it. Do they see the same things from the data? Do they agree on new and/or different things to do when in a game, or in a certain situation? Are they on the same page?
If they are on the same page before the game, then both should feel much more comfortable. Pitching is often filled with emotion; highs and lows can cause many different results with pitchers. But one thing that makes every pitcher feel more comfortable is the catcher’s ability to “get strikes called.” Framing and receiving pitches in a manner that promotes the pitcher “getting the call” when on the edges is another way in which the catcher becomes their best friend.
“Getting the calls”
“Getting these calls” is often called an “art” as we heard from one coach recently. It can involve the manner in which the catcher speaks with the umpire; in essence, building a relationship with him/her. Mechanically, it is often based on how the catcher has positioned his/her body to receive the pitch. If the receiving arm is stretched away from the body when receiving the pitch, for example, then you will be less likely to get the strike call. Being able to moderately and in a smooth manner, lean the mitt back closer or into the strike zone is a known technique, but not so easily incorporated by a catcher.
Catchers that communicate thoroughly with their pitchers, make “friends” with the umpire, and receive pitches such that they “get the call,” quickly become the pitcher’s best friend!!