How to Be A Catcher In Baseball

Four Parts:PositioningWorking with the ballCatching ballsOther aspects of being a catcher

With this information you will be able to throw more runners out, catch and block pitches in the dirt and catch foul balls more effectively!

Part 1

  1. 1
    Position yourself correctly. Squat down with your throwing hand behind your right ankle. Give your pitcher a target with your glove, with your mitt no higher then the bottom of your knees.
  2. 2
    Position yourself correctly when there is going to be a play at the plate. Straddle the plate, but do not block it, unless you have the ball. New rules say you must allow the runner a lane to the plate. If the runner is coming straight down the line, you must have your body facing third base. If he is in the grass, you can take up a little more of the base, but leave an open lane.

Part 2
Working with the ball

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    Keep your eye on the ball. Open your glove and it will naturally align with the ball.
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    Act quickly to throw runners out at a base. Once the ball is in your glove, throw it quickly and as straight as possible. Be sure not to hit the pitcher; discuss the scenario beforehand with the pitcher, shortstop and second baseman to be sure everyone knows their correct placement. Proper placement to throw down to second is in the area of the pitcher's shoulder, to the right of the pitcher with a right handed catcher and to the left with a left handed catcher. A good pitcher "should" know to get out of the way when he sees the catcher getting ready to 'throw down' .
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    Block pitches in the dirt, get on your knees and put your glove between your legs. Look down towards the mitt; it will keep your eye on the ball and keep it from bouncing up and hitting your neck. Once it hits your protection, grab the ball. Also, be ready to block to the left or the right if it is a bad pitch. A good catcher keeps the ball in front of him as much as possible.
    • Blocking balls in the dirt is an important aspect of being a catcher. To do this, recognize it is going to be in the dirt early, drop to your knees, duck your chin to your chest to protect your neck, cover up the open space between your knees with your glove and throwing hand behind it, and let it hit you in the chest. If it is away from you, slide around it and block it back to the middle.
  4. 4
    When there are runners on you can perform a pick off as the catcher. If a runner is getting a big secondary lead, after you catch the ball pop up on to your feet as fast as you can and throw it to that base. If you are strong enough, you can throw it down from your knees.
  5. 5
    If you are going to make a throw down to first (dropped third strike)or any other base, know it before the pitch comes in. Make sure that you take your time and hold the other runners to their base. Make a strong, accurate throw to the bag.

Part 3
Catching balls

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    Remove your helmet. To catch pop ups and fouls you must first take off your helmet. Practice doing this quickly before games. Keep your eye on the ball, run below it and let it fall into your glove.
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    Place yourself in the right stance. There are two catching stances. Stance 1 is used when there is no one on base. Get low and rest on your legs, feet shoulder width apart. Stance 2 is used when you have a runner on and need to get up quickly to throw a runner out or quick return back to the pitcher. Your feet should be a little further apart than shoulder width and your behind should be up in the air. If you have trouble getting the ball to second base on a throw down, put one foot a little more to the front than the other. This will allow you to throw without taking a step, and allow for quicker throws to second base.
  3. 3
    Catch the pitch. If it is an obvious ball, don't try to frame it, just bring it in to your body and throw it back to the pitcher. If it is a for sure strike, extend your arm and catch it with a straight elbow right where it's pitched. When it is on the corner and could be a ball or strike, catch the outside of the ball and try to twist your wrist as you extend your arm to make it look more like a strike, this is called framing.
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    Expect passed balls to happen, they're part of the game. When a ball gets past you with no runners on, don't freak out. However, if there are men on, be sure to get the ball quickly and be ready to throw out a stealing runner. If a ball gets past you with a man on third, run to the backstop. Do not remove your helmet, It wastes valuable time. Drop to your knees and pick up the ball. The pitcher should be guarding the plate, awaiting your throw. Make sure your throw is accurate, or more runs could score.
  5. 5
    Learn your terms and signs. One commonly missed sign is a pitch out. A pitch out is called when you think either a runner is going to steal and you need some extra time or if you are performing a back pick. Make sure you have gone over all of the signs with your pitcher prior to the game.

Part 4
Other aspects of being a catcher

  1. 1
    Make the play on a bunt if you have a chance. When there is a bunt, the catcher often is the best person to make a play on the ball. When the bunt is laid down, check to see where the runners are and where you can make a play. Make sure you get at least one out on a bunt. If someone else fields the bunt, let them know where to make the play. They will not be able to see the field and runners.
    • If there is a runner on third, though, guard the plate and let someone else make the play if you have to stray too far from the plate unless there is someone on the way who can cover the plate. Never leave the plate unattended.
  2. 2
    Set up properly to throw a runner out. When the runner is going, that is, attempting to steal a base, recognize it early. When the pitch comes, catch it and immediately pop up on your feet and make a strong, accurate snap-throw to the bag. Make sure to economize your motion and not take too long. Quickness and accuracy are more important than a super-strong throw.
  3. 3
    Command the field. Be the leader of the field. Command everything that goes on. Instruct on where to throw the ball, remind your team how many outs there are, be the one sole leader of the team.
  4. 4
    Work on your strength. To be a catcher you have to have muscular strength and endurance. Work out your arm until you have the ability to short arm a strong throw. Also, work out your legs. If your legs won't hold out as your support, you won't hold out as a catcher. Work on quick movements and holding positions for long periods of times.
  5. 5
    Practice often. Following these steps won't automatically make you a good catcher. Work on it as much as you can. Work on skills you need to improve and you may be able to make it as a catcher.


  • Remember where the batter likes his pitches. For example, if the batter repeatedly swings and misses high pitches, call the pitch high to get a strike. If the batter can't hit a curve ball, call in a curve ball. A good catcher remembers what strikes a batter out.
  • Make sure you have good 'teeth' on your cleats. Your cleats will help you dig into the ground and help prevent falling when hurrying to get the ball.
  • If you send a pitcher a signal and he shakes it off, don't give him the same signal more than twice. It will irritate the pitcher and he may throw a bad pitch. If he continuously shakes off your signal, call time and go talk to him. He may not know what your are calling. Communication is the key to a good pitcher/catcher relationship.
  • When the runner is stealing always keep your eye the runner and the ball and be ready to make the throw. Don't wind up as much as you normally would, as this takes precious seconds. Come from the side of your ear and shoot the ball quickly forward, keeping it relatively low and guided to the correct baseman.
  • A bad throw is worse than no throw. The coach may yell a minute if you make no throw, but a bad throw can cause runs to score and the loss of the game. Not throwing the ball may be quickly forgotten, while the 1 or more runs scored by an overthrow to one of the bases will be remembered for a long time, especially if the game is lost because of it. Get a good grip on the threads of the ball and aim for the other player's chest.
  • When trying to throw out a runner at second base, make sure to use proper footwork. You should catch the ball and crow hop in place. Catching the ball and then taking a step and throwing gives the runner an extra second.
  • Keep an eye out with a runner at first. You can get a well needed pick off if you can catch a leading runner sliding back to first. You can also do this at third sometimes.
  • Quick returns to the pitcher are critical and can catch a base runner off guard.
  • Have a good rapport with your pitchers. Knowing how a pitcher throws and where his pitch will come in helps you to be a better catcher.
  • The new hockey style catchers helmets allow for greater side vision. If you can play the ball without removing your helmet, do so. Removing your helmet adds valuable seconds to your response time.
  • A good catcher can make a bad pitcher look good and a bad catcher can make a good pitcher look bad. Baseball is a team sport and the pitcher and catcher must work well together and be in sync.
  • Stick the pitch. Keep your glove as still as possible from the time the ball hits your glove until the umpire makes the call. Moving the glove even slightly can cause a good strike to be a ball. Also, a good catcher can 'pull' the pitch, which is moving or turning the glove slightly towards the strike zone, resulting in a ball being called a strike.
  • While transferring the ball from glove to throwing hand, make sure not to bring your glove all the way back to your shoulder. You should catch the ball, make a quarter turn, and take the ball out. If you bring the glove all the way back it makes the transfer a lot harder and you'll frequently have to double clutch.
  • Try your best. You won't catch every ball at first, but in a couple of years with a lot of practice, you might being playing like a pro, or be a pro.
  • Practice as much as possible with your pitcher. Form a bond with your pitcher. Go to pitching camp & have your pitcher go to the camp with you. There is nothing more effective in baseball than a pitcher and catcher that are 100% in sync. Also, become strong, fast, and accurate and study the other teams' batters. Take charge of your team.


  • Don't get too close to the batter. Being hit with the bat is painful and can result in serious injury. It will also result in a call of catcher's interference and a free base for the batter. To determine if you are far enough back, you should be able to completely stretch out your arm and touch the back of the batter's shoe (left arm for right handed batter, right arm for left handed batter).
  • If a runner is heading home and you have the ball, be ready for a 1 on 1 with him. His goal is to knock the ball out of your glove. Keep it safely in your glove and be sure to tag the runner as he approaches! Use two hands to make the tag so the ball does not come out as easily. Also, point your toe towards the runner when blocking the bag. If he slides into your leg, your leg will bend naturally back at your knee. If you point your toe towards the field and the runner slides into your leg it will bend against the knee and could cause your leg to be injured or broken.
  • Be ready for foul-tips that come right back at you with increased speed. Stay planted and aware of the ball's position so you don't allow base runners to advance. Make sure you're ready because sometimes they come right at your mask and that can hurt!

Things You'll Need

  • Catcher equipment

Article Info

Categories: Baseball Catcher Skills