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Thread: Throwing from knees

  1. #11
    I'm a fan InTheCrowd's Avatar
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    My DD is a catcher and has been taking instruction for a couple of years now. One of the unbreakable rules is never throw from your knees to any base. She claims it will eventually hurt the shoulder. Boys can get away with it sometimes because boys are usually stronger in the upper body than girls, so they can get away with it. Girls aren't as strong generally and she can strain and damage the shoulder given time. It won't happen right away but given enough time, it will. (Our catching coach is a former college catcher.)

    The other reason, our CC has told us not to throw from the knees, is by getting the core muscles into the throw, the catcher can get a stronger and more accurate throw than from the knees which are all arm.

    Our CC doesn't even want my DD to throw it to the pitcher from her knees just to keep the "no knees" thinking ingrained.

    We have been taught there are two stances, one for "runners on base" and one for "no runners on base". Most coaches in our area have kids use the "no runners on base" stance and almost never teach the other stance. Our CC has my DD strictly using the stance for "runners on base" for all situations. It's a better stance that allows for more versatility and flexibility behind the plate which is needed with runners. It is also the harder of the two stances to master and get into muscle memory. It is also the more critical one to get into muscle memory according to our CC because if you're throwing out a runner, you want it automatic. She also feels that stance is more appropriate for younger ages because the accuracy of the pitchers isn't quite there yet and it gives the catcher more ability to move and block.

    We have had an ongoing conflict with my DD HS coach who doesn't quite understands catching (Coach's words, not mine). Simply, the ego got in the way of reasoning. The HS coach tried two other catchers to catch "the coach's way" which isn't correct at all. Both games were a disaster (and we lost). The catcher was limited by the stance and could not react to anything but a meatball pitch. Our conflict is my DD refused to change to that way and wanted to stick to her training (and for good reasons). Yesterday, the HS coach put my DD in a catcher and she did an awesome job and did it way she was trained. (And we won as well, coincidence? Not completely.) A couple wild pitches got by her, other than that she was a wall. Being in the "runner-on-base stance", the other team's coach saw my DD was ready to gun it on every pitch (and she has a canon arm) and they didn't attempt one steal except on those few wild pitches. (I think we converted the HS coach yesterday.)

    Got off on a tangent there, but the point is proper instruction early on is essential to proper development and injury prevention. Catchers get beat up enough and work extremely hard with all that gear and stuff.

    Just my 2 cents...

  2. #12
    I can talk softball all day druer's Avatar
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    wow. just wow. x10

    Not getting up, getting into full long throw position in time to throw a runner out, and being on the brink of death and not able to stand up at all are way different.

    There is a huge difference in girls softball and boys baseball that allows many differences to be utilized and taken advantage of if a players ability allows. Biggest is obviously the distance of the bases. Infielders don't have very long throws at all, and yet most are taught a whole lot of mechanics that involve full range of motion as though they are throwing from the fence to home and all of that takes precious seconds. Howard Kobata has done an excellent job (imho) of sharing different techniques and challenging the notion that softball infielders have to throw like baseball infielders. His techniques involve speed to the receivers glove, not just ball speed in the air.

    The same can be said/learned for catchers. Some girls have strong enough arms that they don't have to spring up in order to get a girl out at second base. The overall time is the important factor, not just how pretty she looks standing up and the fact that using her whole body might make the ball travel faster. Objective is the out, not the mechanics or style. If a catcher looks great popping up just right, following through on the throw just right but the runner is safe its not a good throw, its a terrible throw. If she kicks the ball to second base in time to get the runner out it's a fantastic throw. I've seen some elite catchers drop to their knees and actually follow through with their back leg knee just as if they were standing up.

    Every single player has to be instructed based on the skills/assets that they bring to the table, not based on anyone's image of how someone else that's successfull might do it.

  3. #13
    I'm a fan InTheCrowd's Avatar
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    Druer, I'm confused maybe you can help me understand. I'm not an expert in softball by any means, I can just regurgitate what I've learned through my DD's playing. So I don't mean to sound offensive or stupid.

    I keep hearing though coaches and clinics that there is proper mechanics to a throw or a swing or fielding a grounder, etc. But catchers throwing to a base doesn't? That doesn't add up in my head. Or are you saying there's more than one way to skin the cat?

    And another question:

    If throwing to a base from the knees over a period can cause injury, shouldn't an appropriate method be used to minimize that risk? Or is the injury risk a figment of someone's imagination?

    Just curious...

  4. #14
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball starsnuffer's Avatar
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    I just want to know when it became socially unacceptable for athletic coaches to advocate physical fitness in this country.

    -W

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    Certified softball maniac SoftSocDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheCrowd View Post
    My DD is a catcher and has been taking instruction for a couple of years now. One of the unbreakable rules is never throw from your knees to any base. She claims it will eventually hurt the shoulder. Boys can get away with it sometimes because boys are usually stronger in the upper body than girls, so they can get away with it. Girls aren't as strong generally and she can strain and damage the shoulder given time. It won't happen right away but given enough time, it will. (Our catching coach is a former college catcher.)
    Just because boys are 'generally stronger' doesn't mean that every boy playing is stronger than every girl playing ball, nor does it mean that every boy's body is tougher than every girl's body. Each athlete should be taught to maximize his or her own potential based on what they're capable of, not based on what their gender is.

  6. #16
    I can talk softball all day fastpitchdad8's Avatar
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    Coaches advocating physical fitness is a fine idea. What's "socially unacceptable" is calling out the OP's player for being too fat to catch when he never mentioned her weight in his post, then going off on a tangent about fat catchers which was'nt even part of the thread.



    Quote Originally Posted by starsnuffer View Post
    I just want to know when it became socially unacceptable for athletic coaches to advocate physical fitness in this country.

    -W

  7. #17
    I can talk softball all day rowdy's Avatar
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    I like to read on the catchers, the toes, flat footed or whatever the flavor of the day happens to be. The picture above shows a girl in position that is great for 10u but as they get older she better move about four inches lower in the stike zone or the throw to second will be the least of your worries. Catching is about how fast you get the ball out of the glove and moving to second base. I agree the footwork is very important, but too many great catchers use too many different foot positions for one to be the holy grail.

    I would add that if you have a catcher who is not athletic enough to get out of the crouch to throw to second you might want to find a new athlete to move to catcher and have this girl become something else. If you have a bad catcher it will only be a matter of time before you have bad pitchers.

  8. #18
    I can talk softball all day Catching Coach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowdy View Post
    I like to read on the catchers, the toes, flat footed or whatever the flavor of the day happens to be. The picture above shows a girl in position that is great for 10u but as they get older she better move about four inches lower in the stike zone or the throw to second will be the least of your worries.
    Rowdy, to clarify the picture posted you referred to is a video of a throwing drill that I filmed to show the basic mechanics I train catchers to use. The drill was done for that film clip with a pitch at the knees.
    Dave Weaver
    Founder-New England Catching Camp
    www.catchingcamp.com
    Phil 4:13

  9. #19
    Chazman chazbz1's Avatar
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    I have worked with many female catchers ranging from 10U to college level. I have seen very few girls that are developed and prepared to throw from their knees. I would not even entertain the notion until your catcher has grown into their "adult body" (skeletal and muscle development close to their adult build) It is not a good idea to have them throwing from their knees before their body is physically ready.

    When we evaluate catchers, we see the same thing from boys and girls when they stop a pitch in the dirt and come up to throw. The most common issue that puts them at a disadvantage is that they do not know how to properly block the pitch in the dirt. The result is that they have to get up and chase the ball. Even with a good block, most catchers get straight up, stand tall, chase down the ball. stoop or bend over, recover the ball, stand back up and then proceed to throw. This method is not only slow and has a ton of wasted motion, getting straight up from your knees in a hurry is very hard on the knee joints.

    While there are methods to instruct throwing from the knees, it really should not be attempted until your catcher can recover a blocked pitch, come up and make a strong throw. They must learn to throw with their body first. The best method to recover and throw a blocked pitch that I have seen is from Coach Dave Weaver of the New England Catching Camp Coach Weaver has this method demonstrated at "YouTube- Block and Throw" This method has the catcher accelerating towards the target, staying low, and using the legs in the throw. It reduces stress to the knee joints and works well for any size catcher. I worked with a larger 16U catcher that had a lot of trouble coming up to throw. She had a great arm, but struggled to get to throwing position. She fought me tooth and nail during the time we worked on this lesson. (Some 40 minutes) Then it finally clicked! She figured it out that she was faster and could get even more velocity behind her throws. I couldn't get her to stop practicing and move onto another skill for another 30 minutes!

    This method works extremely well. I have 12U through college age girls that can routinely block the pitch in the dirt, recover the ball and throw out runners.
    -Chaz Wood @ Advanced Catching Concepts

  10. #20
    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starsnuffer View Post
    If she's fat, just say so. If she's a kid, and she's fat, it's your job as a coach to teach her proper fitness and nutrition so the kid doesn't develop diabetes and die young, not to mention cost the rest of us money in taking care of her health problems.

    -W
    No, talking to a kid about her weight or other personal issues is not my job, nor is it any other coach's job. That is the parents' responsibility. To think otherwise is way out of bounds.
    Ken Krause
    IOMT Castaways 18U
    Contributing editor, Softball Magazine
    Life in the Fastpitch Lane
    NFCA Three Star Master Coach

    For help with technical problems with the Forum, email me at support@discussfastpitch.com

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