By Ethan Guevin
This week, we finish our quest to help you improve your catch-play with a segment dedicated to pitchers. Since 90% of what pitchers do is throw the ball, we don’t need to waste time convincing you that playing quality catch is extremely important in taking your game to the next level. Let’s get right to the 5 areas that you need to work on.
Many pitchers get too accustomed to pitching the ball and don’t devote enough time to playing quality catch (that’s why many pitchers develop problems throwing to bases). When playing catch, you should devote plenty of time to working on mechanics and delivery. Whether just getting loose at 30 feet, or fully warmed up at 60 feet, your delivery should be consistent on every throw. Let your arm go at the speed of your delivery, but keep the mechanics/arm slot/etc. consistent.
2. Working on Different Throws
While working on your mechanics/delivery is important during your catch routine, set aside plenty of throws to practice fielding the ball and/or throwing the ball to your infielders. Being able to spin the ball, make throws with touch and feel, and make throws from a variety of athletic body positions are all important and needed skills. You will have to make throws from the field, there is no getting around it. If you don’t practice, bad throws may cost you bases or runs. On the other hand, if you work on these skills as part of your catch play, they will start to become second nature and on target in your games.
3. Location, Location, Location
Don’t work on simply throwing the ball to your partner, pick out specific spots. The best thing to do is to pick two different spots and alternate between the two. After all, it’s all about location!
4. Alternating Different Pitches
Once you are comfortable with changing locations (and hitting your targets!), alternate throws using your fastball and change-up with an emphasis on maintaining the same delivery, arm speed, and arm slot on both. You don’t have to do this at max effort. This will help you get comfortable with your change-up. Alternating these as you move between 60-80 feet can also be helpful in forcing you to get your release point out front.
At the end of your catch routine, take a few minutes to work on your pick-off move. Position yourself to simulate throwing to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and work on quick feet, a short arm, and accurate throws. Ask your partner for feedback.
We could probably go on forever with ways for you to improve your catch-play but now, it’s up to you to put in the work!