Catcher Stance and How to Frame the Ball
So most of my career was made because I made the pitcher look good. Not because I swung a giant stick. Not because I was the smartest guy on the field. I made the pitcher look good. So how do we do that? When were setting up behind home plate, we want to make the pitcher look as good as he possibly can. By doing that, we want to make sure that strikes remain strikes. That’s right it seems simple, but you’d be surprised watching catchers catch balls and their gloves going down and coming up. Going down and coming up.
One of my pet peeves is when we talk about framing the ball for the pitcher. We’ve been told turn the glove in. Get on top of it. Hold it in the zone this way. It drives me nuts when I see that. I apologize if you’ve been taught that. i was taught that too. But I’ve talked to a lot of umpires, a lot of pitchers, and I don’t think it looks good. So heres what I want you to do. Yeah squat with me thats right. Now show me what it looks like to catch a pitch down the middle. Yeah just like that. That’s a strike. So I want to make every pitch look like that. So if I have a pitch up high, I just squeeze. I just squeeze and sink. Squeeze and sink. If I catch a pitch on the corner, I just squeeze. I Squeeze and sink. If it’s on the corner, i just squeeze and sink.
What your doing when you turn your glove in like this or you turn your glove in like this. You automatically just told the umpire, I thought it was a ball and I’m trying to make it look better than it was. Make him at least figure it out. Catch it well. Catch it like a strike. You don’t have to sell a whole lot. When were catching the low pitch make sure you get below the ball. From here I can catch coming up. The ball is going to be coming on a downward trajectory. I want to get below the ball and catch it coming up. By doing this. I can stop the momentum. If I’m above the ball and Im not low in my stance, its going to take my glove down and go up. And every time that happens, the umpire’s going to say ball. We don’t want to hear that. We want to help our pitcher succeed. If it’s a strike, we want to keep it a strike. If it’s borderline, we want to get that pitch.
So here’s what we do. We sink. We sink. We sink. It’s done in the elbow, it’s not done with the wrist. We don’t want to see this. No one wants to see this. We sink. From here were bringing balls into the zone quietly. Their subtle movements, not these giant turns. It doesn’t look good. No one catches a pitch like this. Were trying to make it look better. No we just sink. Same pitch right here like that. So the next time your behind home plate, don’t make it obvious for the umpire if it was a ball or a strike. Be quite. Be subtle. Don’t change the way the glove looks. Use that tip the next time your behind the dish.