Freshman year, back when I would pitch AND catch, my freshman coach had a new drill he wanted to show the catchers. He lined us up against the backstop and proceeded to hit fungos at us. Now I am not talking soft taps. I am talking lines drives, hard one hoppers etc. The idea was for us to block them. It lookd ridiculous, like shooting fish in a barrel. And I can honestly say that it did me and the other catchers absolutely no good. :lol:
hmmm, why not just throw them?
hmmm, why not just throw them?[/quote]
Yeah you would think that would be the smart thing to do right? lol :?
Here’s one I saw a couple of years ago at the Yankees’ spring training camp. They had a machine that would hit high popups—I mean really high—first one ball at a time, then two, then three, then four, and the catchers had to catch them. Jorge Posada demonstrated how this was done, and then the catchers would take their turns—first one, then two, then three, etc. Believe me, it’s not easy; when they had to catch three balls at a time there would be mishaps, and I had to laugh when I saw one young catcher lose his balance and fall on his tush with his arms and legs up in the air, because it reminded me of what would happen time and again in my pitching days when the opposing batters would strike out trying to get a piece of my slider!
Perhaps the coaches you speak of should try this; it certainly would make more sense for catchers, because they spend more time going after those high popups. As for practicing blocking the ball, nothing beats a pitcher who throws splitters most of the time; catchers usually have to scramble to keep the ball in front of them.
Saw the same fungo drill in Yankees camp two years ago. Coach would stand off to the side slightly- say 20’ or so to the 1st base side of the rubber and hit balls to the catchers- one hoppers that had to be blocked and directed back over home plate- only difference was the were using the Easton Incrediballs instead of real baseballs. I got there just as they were switching from the 3rd base side to the 1st base side.
My take on the fungo was that the coach could not throw hard enough to simulate 90+ mph fastballs so he used the fungo- impressive display of fungo skills as well.
By the way- they all took a pretty good beating.
I’m really late, but just thought I’d toss in that in high school we didn’t have any coach to help with the catchers so the head coach would set up a pitching machine to shoot one hoppers at the catchers. Probably the most painful drill I ever remember doing EVER.
Sounds like a drill any catcher would hate… :lol:
Seems like its the well known “adverse conditions theory of athletic specific skill improvement.” Meaning…you practice a skill that requires quicker reflexes or sharper perception than anything that occurs during a game and your muscle memory will adjust making it easier to perform gametime.
Similar to a hitting drill indoors when you turn out most of the lights and hit in the dim light. Makes regular hitting so much easier.
This reminds me of a funny situation.
One of the owners had a relative who was visiting, a psychology major at Penn State as I remember, and he suggested to our hitting coach a rather unique way to discuss subjects in a positive way - removing the negative facial expressions and similar body language, that would distract players. The student suggested going into the toilet stalls, closing the stall doors, turning off all the lights and then have the players listen to the hitting coach. Thus … theoretically … no one could see the negative responses from anyone else and in turn make up their own mind.
When the kid made the suggestion we all had a blank look on our face - along with …What? Oh well, the kid is related to one of the bright lights that pays the bills … why not.
A couple of days went by and I’m having a cold one when our hitting coach comes in, pulls up a chair and smirks a bit, then orders… " I’ll have what he’s got."
“Well, how’d it go?” I asked.
He says that the first round of guys took their place, closed the stall doors, he turned off the lights, then started his talk. About five minutes later everybody started flushing.
Then he says…" the next thing I hear from everybody is … @#!!*&!!, … awhhh man … there’s no paper … anybody got a spare roll?"