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Thread: Catcher Calling the Game

  1. #1
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    Default Catcher Calling the Game



    I thought one of the more interesting conversations at the National Softball Coaches clinic in Chicago was having the C calling the game. One of the presenters was very passionate about allowing the C calling the game but admitted that it was done from the Dugout when she coached. It seemed like all the College coaches there had the game called from the Dugout. One of the reasons given was that they only had 4 years with the C and if they were not prepared coming into to College they did not have enough time to teach them.

    I should have asked but did not think of it at the time is does a C being able to call the game make her more attractive to Colleges. Right now my opinion is No, it doesn’t matter.

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    Certified softball maniac RubberBiscuit's Avatar
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    From my perspective by the time they are playing late 14U and into 16U and beyond the pitcher & catcher need to be at least a strategic partner-set along with the pitch-calling from the dug-out. Nothing infuriates me more than a coach thinking he has got pitch calling all figured out and does not expect and look to the pitcher/catcher combination for real-time input in games. Especially in TB where there can be limited to non-existent scouting of other teams.

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    I can talk softball all day GI Tom's Avatar
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    I completely disagree with NOT teaching a Catcher to call pitches as well as allowing them to do so due to several reasons. My DD just graduated HS and is playing in her first year at college, her primary position is C. Here is what we learned while she was going through her many years of TB and HS ball.

    1. Teaching her to call the game gave her added confidence which in turn helped her to play better.
    2. It helped her to be a better on field leader.
    3. She learned to actually think about the calls coming from the dugout and would shake off pitches when she believed there was an opportunity for a better pitch selection that may give her team an advantage. (Pitch callers can't always see how close or far away from the plate a batter is standing, etc)
    4. She conversed with the Coach/pitch caller regularly between innings which kept her totally involved in games.
    5. She learned her pitchers better and how to work them during a game. (Out pitches, clutch pitches, etc)
    6. She remembered (on her own) certain batters and their hotspots without any scouting reports, etc.

    The above are only some of the benefits my DD gained just from learning pitch calling. During her TB, she called for most of the teams she played for going from 16U onward. In HS, her coach called them all, but she was a large influence in that process and helped her to be an All District player as a C.

    I think there is a HUGE advantage for a Catcher to a college coach if she learned how to call pitches as well as being able to do so. While they may not ever have an opportunity to use it in college, the mere fact they have the knowledge and CAN do so if necessary is just an added benefit.

    I think this is apparent by the OP stating that even though they didn't allow it, during the seminar some were still all for it. In our case, there was no question our DD got a scholarship due to her flexibility as a C, one of them being that she could also call pitches.

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    Wannabe Duck Boat Owner Greenmonsters's Avatar
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    Talked to a veteran DIII coach this past weekend. They much preferred a C who had experience calling games.

    How many coaches have called games from behind the plate so that they know exactly what they're missing when they try to call the game from the bench??? IME&O, many TB coaches are fathers of DD pitcher and may know her better than anyone else, but they have a hard time adjusting to calling pitches for any non-DD pitcher who has different pitches, strengths and weaknesses.

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    Certified softball maniac Coach JV's Avatar
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    I enjoy calling the game, and it is common for the pitches to be called from the dugout.
    Last year I had a catcher break her wrist and she was sidelined for the summer. She came to
    games and we spoke in depth about hitter tendencies with different counts and why
    we call pitches for situational reasons. After a couple games, I let her let me know what to
    call and why. After a single weekend, she called all the pitches, when she returned from injury,
    I let her call her own game for the majority of innings and she did very well. It helped her grow as
    a player and become a very good student of the game. She is the ONLY catcher I allow this
    freedom, as calling pitches is a more complex than many coaches believe.

    This decision largely depends on the player, some catchers prefer not to call, as they over think it,
    or take the blame for bad decisions

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    Out on good behavior redhotcoach's Avatar
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    It is not my game, it is your game. Thats why the dugout is behind a fence. -Sue Enquist

    Dd has been having discussions about counts, tendencies, and studying batters with myself and other coaches since she was 9. WHY? Because thats her job!
    Last edited by redhotcoach; 12-12-2011 at 08:33 PM.

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    Out on good behavior redhotcoach's Avatar
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    JV I believe you are right, but ONLY with the comment that calling pitches is very complex. It's a guess based on the information you have, and nothing more. Just a gamble.
    Is there "blame" for a bad pitch call on every hit? Or maybe the hitter beat us on that one. Ball goes out, is it the catcher or coaches fault for calling the wrong pitch. I think pitch calling IS complex. That why I believe we teach our girls, then let them play THEIR game, and understand it is "a game of failure" (another Enquist quote), and stop trying to "Joystick coach the team" (a common quote from my wife).

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    I can talk softball all day rowdy's Avatar
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    We teach our catchers how to call a game. When they are not in the game they are with the coaches learning situational strategies. We give them a lot of freedom but are also there to assist if we feel the need. On every pitch their is a lot that can go wrong even if the correct pitch is called.

    We have several players who will play in college and several who most likely won't. If they decide to coach somewhere along the way I would hope they have a good foundation and understanding of the basics they will have to teach.

  10. #9
    RayR
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    Who calls the plays offensively? The batters? Who calls the plays in football, basketball, hockey, etc? Why is it any different on who calls the pitches?

    While I agree that catchers should know how to call a game - I think it is the coaches responsibilty to be heavily involved calling a game....I see many catchers get too predictable....after a 1st pitch strike call a change up....

    There is a half way point in that sometimes I will tell the catcher what location and she can pick the pitch or we want something fast or slow and again she can pick the actual pitch (slow could be a change or drop - fast could be rise, curve, two seam, etc all depending on who is pitching and what they throw)

    We also will go over situations (lefty slapper with runners on - no runners on, sac bunt situation, 0-2 counts....) and how we want to pitch them....so in those cases I don't have to signal the catcher....

    But they are trained to look over every pitch and learn that if I don't give a sign they default to situational approaches and most times my catchers and myself communicate through gestures on where to go with the next pitch - catchers have to provide the feedback on what is working and not working that day....

    But to just turn over control to a catcher is not coaching....

  11. #10
    RayR
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    How many times does the coach not see or even know if the called pitch hit its spot? Again, a lot. So this big strategy is based on a false foundation.
    Exactly why you establish the non verbal communication between yourself and your catcher....a simple nod tells me the pitcher hit her spot...a shake means no....

    You wouldn't believe how quickly a catcher learns just using this method....you don't have to just turn over the reins...

    My HS catcher from last year would make me laugh because if I called a pitch that she wasn't confident in - her eyes would get really big like she was saying "Oh shit".....sometimes I would persist other times I would defer to her....

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