Catcher Throwing to Second Base
So for catchers, one of our most exciting plays is when we know the guy on first base is going to run and we will be throwing to second. We feel like it’s one on one. Him against us and there’s not a better feeling when we throw him out. We see him walking back maybe even arguing with the umpire, but he got in there somehow. But we stand here all proud, maybe even a little prideful. Look at what I just did. I just threw him out. He’s walking off. He’s upset and we’re kind of digging ourselves.
The reality is, it had very little to do with us and had mainly to do with the pitcher, giving us a good time to home plate. By that I mean if a pitcher lifts his leg up real high before delivering a ball, the catcher’s not going to have a lot of time to make a throw. Now if the pitcher’s quick, we got all the time in the world to make a throw. That’s why I always believe it’s kind of on unfair measuring stick when they talk about catches making throws to second base. It’s not really fair when it’s caught stealing is measured against the catcher, because most of it has to do with the pitcher.
So how do with do this. How do we make a consistent throw each time to second base. Here’s what we want to do. From our stance with somebody on, our right foot’s staggered just slightly. We don’t want to get turned too far, because we still have to be ready to catch and block a pitch on this side of our body. Because remember, we always want to catch the ball first, be ready to block second and then make a throw third. So were in our stance. We’re ready to go. We’re going to receive the ball. From here we’re going to take, like we’ve already talked about, we make the quick clean exchange. The glove turns towards us. Always wants to turn towards us. This is something that needs to be practiced. Our right foot is going to take a short jab step and we’re going to come up square to second base.
Here’s what I’d like to think of. It’s basically a T. We’re basically going to follow a T. So we have our T right here. Our right foot is going to come to the middle as short as we possibly can. The longer this step is, the longer this steps going to be. The longer we’re stepping, it’s more time that’s being wasted before we can put a baseball in the air. So the quicker we can get our right foot up and down, the quicker we can throw a ball, because it’s always about accuracy, then quickness, then velocity. Here we go. So we turn the glove towards us and we’re in position. The quicker we can do it. The quicker we can get the ball in the air, the better chance we have of being successful throwing someone out.
There’s a couple other techniques that are used. This one I just talked about, follow the T. We’re basically just taking a short jab step with our right foot, getting our left foot in line. Another popular technique is the jump turn. My problem with the jump turn is we don’t gain any ground towards second base and I want my momentum going towards second base. Here’s what the jump turn looks like. We catch the ball and we just jump and turn. Kind of like the name says. Like I said, my problem is I don’t gain any ground. That’s why I like follow the T.
The third technique, is the turn and throw. Not used nearly as much as it used to, outside of pitches that really take us out to the side. When we have a pitch take us all the way out here, here’s what it might look like. We turn, we catch, we come up and we just throw from here. If you’re going to do that, make sure you load up on that back leg and you get your front shoulder closed towards second base. If we get out too far in front, our arm’s left behind. Anytime our arm gets left behind, we get on the side of the ball. The ball sinks and we don’t gain our velocity.
I honestly prefer the follow the T. It’s the quickest. It gets momentum and it’s what’s used most often in the major leagues. So from here we may our quick exchange and we’re ready to go. So the next time you’re behind home plate and he’s trying to get a good jump on you, follow the T. Make a strong throw the next time you’re behind the dish.