It seems that many players and coaches recognize how little time is allocated during practices for catchers to work on their catching skills, like blocking, exchange drills, pickoff throws, and proper handling of passed balls with a throw to the pitcher covering home plate, just to name a few.
Often times it has been said to me that there just isn’t enough time to fit it in a practice. I would like to challenge that idea by pointing out the most wasted 20 minutes in a catcher’s life.
The time is called “Infield Practice.” I’ve lost count of how many practices I have observed where a coach is hitting infield practice with often times the starting catcher standing beside them taking the throw from the fielders and then handing the ball back to the coach. WHAT A WASTE!!!
Now I know that some of the items covered during infield practice do require the catcher’s involvement in a true game situation play. However I have seen at least 20 minutes go by when all they do is catch the ball and hand it to the coach.
I suggest that at the beginning of infield practice another player fill that role, and even maybe rotate with other infielders. During that time the catchers, all of the catchers if possible, are off to the side working on blocking, throwing, etc.
When it is time to do the plays that involve the catcher, call them back over and run them all at one time.
Here is one thing that I had a coach do with me when I was about 14. Grab a bucket of balls and have your catchers put on all his/her gear except mask and glove, they will not be needed for this drill. Find any old place where there is a fence, and position your catcher a few feet away from the fence, down on their knees, and back to the fence.
Stand about 20 to 25 feet away and soft toss the ball so that it hits one to three feet in front of them. Mix it up by making them have to go after the ball to their left and right. You do not need to throw the ball hard. The point of the drill is to get your catcher sharp on blocking/going after the ball on a bad pitch.
Do this drill for 5 to 10 minutes every practice, and your catcher will be ahead of the curve on 59 footers come the beginning of the season.