A sure fired way to reduce errors charged to you behind the dish is to avoid passed balls all together.
I know this sounds simple, but in actuality it’s easier said than done.
So here’s a hint to help you:
Anticipate the flight of the ball coming in. If you see the ball heading for the dirt on your glove side … start to go as early as possible to be in a defensive posture to block the ball. Pitches that are heading in the dirt are NOT to be caught … they’re to be blocked with the total body.
Blocking with the body, totally, gets you in position to keep “dirt buster” in front of you … not off to one side … not chasing the ball behind you … and above all not trying to peek through the mask/helmet or even flipping the head gear off … just to find the ball somewhere in the dirt around you. This blocking also keeps the ball away from the plate umpire who could just as well be kicking the ball around … trying to find it just like you.
Another important thing to remember, a pitch in the dirt is a live ball and in play a high percentage of the time. And if you have luck like I do, there will be runners going when it happens!!
So, practice with every incoming pitch … ANTICIPATE THE BALL INCOMING FLIGHT, BE READY, BLOCK BALLS IN THE DIRT DON’T TRY AND GLOVE THEM FOR A CATCH.
Another suggestion is to be shallow when blocking balls in the dirt on the batter’s side. The tendency to jump forward with the body should be avoided all together. Getting slug’d by the bat not only smarts - but it’s also catcher’s interference if the batter swings the bat attempting to hit or bunt.