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Thread: Should you teach young catchers to throw from the knees?

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    Peak Performance Coach Coach Marc's Avatar
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    Default Should you teach young catchers to throw from the knees?

    I got that question from a local coach this week. I will admit - I am not a catching expert. I know the catching fundamentals but I have never been a catcher and I just know enough to be able to work with them a little bit.

    So, her question was "Is that correct if the catching coach of my catcher spend the whole winter teaching how to throw on the bases from her knees because it's not working at all?"

    My answer was: "Well, I haven't seen too many do that in the women's game even at the university and international level. Yes, a few will do it, especially those blessed with rocket arm and quick release but it's not the majority".

    What are your thoughts about that? How would you answer that?
    Coach Marc O. Dagenais, MHK, CSCS
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    I can talk softball all day Catching Coach's Avatar
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    Marc,

    I have only a handfull of high school girls that I have ever taught to throw to 1st on a pickoff from the knees. Never to 2nd. The number of girls that have a strong enough arm to make the throw is so small it is not worth it.

    While the player may get the ball in the air a little bit faster then using full mechanincs the loss of velocity does not justify it.

    Also the margin for error for not getting a straight drive line to the base in the throwing slot is also so huge it again is not worth it.

    It looks cool, that is for sure, but not very practicle for most girls.

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    Checking out the clubhouse Jerilyn's Avatar
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    I don't think at an early age that you would want to do that. I would think that you want to stick with the fundamentals, that would be for a more advanced, stronger players. High school and collage players.

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    I can talk softball all day fastpitch91's Avatar
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    Default catcher training basics

    At the risk of co-opting this thead to a different direction ....

    I have the challenge of developing a catcher from scratch for next year. Can anyone suggest a good resource and a range of skill development drills for taking a fielder and turning them into a catcher with a focus on the fundamentals of being able to handle catching a pitcher with a full array of breaking pitches and positoning and mechanics in anticipation of bunt and steal situations, etc.

    She has the arm strenght to get the ball there so at least that is not an issue!
    thanks

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    Default Best Catching Video on the Market

    Quote Originally Posted by fastpitch91 View Post
    At the risk of co-opting this thead to a different direction ....

    I have the challenge of developing a catcher from scratch for next year. Can anyone suggest a good resource and a range of skill development drills for taking a fielder and turning them into a catcher with a focus on the fundamentals of being able to handle catching a pitcher with a full array of breaking pitches and positoning and mechanics in anticipation of bunt and steal situations, etc.

    She has the arm strenght to get the ball there so at least that is not an issue!
    thanks
    Check out catching coach's video.. great resource. I believe it is the best on the market. Can't go wrong. Best of all? He is a regular visitor here so you can ask him questions directly.

    Available at: http://catchingcamp.com/index.php?page=dvd


    Marc
    Coach Marc O. Dagenais, MHK, CSCS
    http://www.softballperformance.com

    Connect with me - Become my fan on Facebook and/or Follow me on Twitter .

    Marc Dagenais is a softball peak performance coach that helps players be more confident, mentally tougher, hit with more power, run faster, throw harder, and be more dominant on the field. He also helps coaches win more games and get more out of their team.

    To boost your performance, check our softball drills directory or sign-up for our FREE newsletter to get tons of great softball tips by email!

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    Checking out the clubhouse HG dad's Avatar
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    Default making a college player

    I am glad Mr. Finch saw passed what other people and his child could do or he would have given up way before Jennie's college years.

    Randy

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    Marc,

    To answer your question, I don't think it's something you should spend an entire winter on. I think with that particular skill, a lot of catchers can either do it or not. Some are just that athletic/strong/skilled etc and can do it and do it well and don't need much coaching.

    Others may be able to add it to their arsenal for special situations opportunities (not an every time thing) so it's fine to work with them on it a little, just to introduce it, give them the basics. But since they aren't going to be using it even half the time, I don't feel it's wise to spend a huge chunk of time on it.

    The rest, even with tons of coaching on it will probably never be able to effectively use it, so why waste the time. Use it to further strengthen their other skills that they WILL be using on a regular basis.


    ----------

    Side note: my 8-year-old is catching this year for the first time every so often. I notice that sometimes when she throws back to the pitcher, rather than stand and throw, she goes to her knees and does it. I don't think anyone "taught" it to her and I'm actually kind of surprised at the quality of her throw and her mechanics when she does it. Her upper body mechanics may be even slightly better throwing from the knees than when she stands and throws. She takes her time since no one is one base and makes a nice throw. I didn't catch much, so I don't now, but does doing this help "save" her legs a little during the game vs standing every time? It seems like it would, but like I said, I haven't been in that situation much and it was years ago, so I don't really know.

    I haven't seen a reason to stop her from doing it, so I've just let it go. Is there any way in which this would be a negative thing?
    Stacie Mahoe
    My Softball Musings

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    I can talk softball all day softball_chic_12's Avatar
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    I don't oppose throwing from the knees down the baseline. But I would never ever throw to second from the knees. It's not easy and if you can do it, you are blessed. but most can't do it, and if they can, they don't have the timing down. It is a lot easier to throw when standing up and taking a step. This gets the momentum going.

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    Checking out the clubhouse BBRB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StacieM View Post
    Marc,

    To answer your question, I don't think it's something you should spend an entire winter on. I think with that particular skill, a lot of catchers can either do it or not. Some are just that athletic/strong/skilled etc and can do it and do it well and don't need much coaching.

    Others may be able to add it to their arsenal for special situations opportunities (not an every time thing) so it's fine to work with them on it a little, just to introduce it, give them the basics. But since they aren't going to be using it even half the time, I don't feel it's wise to spend a huge chunk of time on it.

    The rest, even with tons of coaching on it will probably never be able to effectively use it, so why waste the time. Use it to further strengthen their other skills that they WILL be using on a regular basis.


    ----------

    Side note: my 8-year-old is catching this year for the first time every so often. I notice that sometimes when she throws back to the pitcher, rather than stand and throw, she goes to her knees and does it. I don't think anyone "taught" it to her and I'm actually kind of surprised at the quality of her throw and her mechanics when she does it. Her upper body mechanics may be even slightly better throwing from the knees than when she stands and throws. She takes her time since no one is one base and makes a nice throw. I didn't catch much, so I don't now, but does doing this help "save" her legs a little during the game vs standing every time? It seems like it would, but like I said, I haven't been in that situation much and it was years ago, so I don't really know.

    I haven't seen a reason to stop her from doing it, so I've just let it go. Is there any way in which this would be a negative thing?
    At 8u it is VERY good training to do the footwork for throwing to 2nd every time the catcher throws back to the pitcher. This builds muscle memory that will take over latter when there is no time to think....Also I would order the traing videos from the New England Catching Camp TODAY!! They are unbelievable in their thoroghness and detail...That video will develope the skills to play at ANY level.....I am an experienced baseball catcher and can tell you that the biggest obsticle to throwing from the knees is pitch location. Even if you have the arm strength getting just the right pitch to make a strong throw to 2nd is a accident....It works well for throws to 1st though....Just remember to stick your left knee down in line with the bag and get a full shoulder turn

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    Our 14y/o daughter is a strong pitcher and catcher. She was just picked up by a top level 18A team for both postions. However, her catching is what locked her on the team because she fires her throw downs to any base from her knees dead on target and fast. Her pitchers are having to MOVE out of the way instead of kneel down because she has almost hits them in the head throwing to second base. I really think its because she is such a strong pitcher. She has great pop up fundamentals and does do them, but in the heat of the moment, she is on her knees and the ball is GONE. Like others said, its situational.
    Last edited by changeupskill; 08-26-2010 at 04:15 PM.

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