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Thread: Jab step when blocking to the side

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    Checking out the clubhouse Spindaddy's Avatar
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    Default Jab step when blocking to the side

    DD attended a clinic recently where the instructor was teaching lateral blocking technique. Specifically, he wanted the catchers to take a jab step to the side with their lead foot before going into their blocking slide. The idea was the jab step allowed the catcher to block balls that were farther outside than if she just slid over. The jab step is supposed to be quick and seamless. Up to this point DD has followed Weaver's technique, which as far as I've seen, there really is no intentional jab step involved. DD didn't feel comfortable doing a jab, but I'm sure if she practiced it enough she'd get it down.

    I can see the point if a pitch is far off the plate and the catcher needs to cover more ground but not totally convinced it's worth the time and effort for 12U DD to change her technique. Anybody's catcher beast use a jab step when blocking to the side? Or have you seen it used in fastpitch?

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    Wannabe Duck Boat Owner Greenmonsters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spindaddy View Post
    DD attended a clinic recently where the instructor was teaching lateral blocking technique. Specifically, he wanted the catchers to take a jab step to the side with their lead foot before going into their blocking slide. The idea was the jab step allowed the catcher to block balls that were farther outside than if she just slid over. The jab step is supposed to be quick and seamless. Up to this point DD has followed Weaver's technique, which as far as I've seen, there really is no intentional jab step involved. DD didn't feel comfortable doing a jab, but I'm sure if she practiced it enough she'd get it down.

    I can see the point if a pitch is far off the plate and the catcher needs to cover more ground but not totally convinced it's worth the time and effort for 12U DD to change her technique. Anybody's catcher beast use a jab step when blocking to the side? Or have you seen it used in fastpitch?
    NECC’s training is the gold standard. There are some MLBers that could learn a lot from some of Jay’s 14 year old female catchers. Don’t waste your time worrying about the jab step - that time would be better spent tying a rock around the NECC dvd and throwing it thru your current instructor’s window imho.
    “It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts” - John Wooden

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    I agree with Greenmonsters. There's no need for a jab step. If your DD pushes hard off the inside foot and makes sure her inside knee lands first, she'll keep going until her outside knee lands.
    Win the games you're supposed to, win some of the games you're not and make the rest of the teams know they've been in a battle to beat you.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball riseball's Avatar
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    At the younger levels I can see how it may benefit because there is more blocking and the pitchers are wild. But at the higher levels as the girls get bigger it sounds like a solution in search of a problem. If you are asking these questions and familiar with NECC I can only assume you are building a college catcher. That said, stick to the plan and eliminate all the nonsense. If she is not going to do it in college don't do it now.

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    When I get a catcher who uses a jab step I try to get her to stop. In my experience, it takes more time and doesn't add anything. I prefer the catcher pushes off with the opposite foot, throws her hips over, and drops the knee on the side she's blocking toward. The catcher should pounce on the ball like a cat pouncing on a mouse, and you can't do that with a jab step. If you need to get out farther, push off harder and slide on your shin guards. If you still can't get out far enough, the pitcher needs to work on her pitching.
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    Checking out the clubhouse Spindaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riseball View Post
    ... If she is not going to do it in college don't do it now.
    DD will be relieved. Plenty of other skills to work on anyway.

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    I can talk softball all day CCJR's Avatar
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    Hey everyone, thought I could offer up some advice on this topic.

    There's a misconception that by aggressively jab-stepping to the side, you can increase lateral coverage behind the plate as a catcher. There are a few problems with this assumption. #1) To jab step, means you must first pick the foot up off the ground. Any movement, from any part of the body, heading in the opposite direction of the ball is counterproductive. It will cost time that the "gain" in coverage just will never offset. As the game gets faster, the room for error shrinks dramatically. Don't waste time she could be using to retrieve the ball and throw someone out.

    #2) The catcher will lose blocking accuracy. The human body wants to feel comfortable. The human brain has a very easy way of achieving this comfortability. Assuming that the most comfortable state is balanced, the brain uses a particular part of our body, and its positioning in relationship to our middle, to gauge just how centered we are. That part of our body is not our feet. It's our hands.

    As catchers we can use this to our advantage. Get your hands to the ball, and the brain will find a way to align your body with them. Use your feet to center up a ball? You are now relying on gravity and the friction of shinguards to dirt to stop ourselves. And while those things are extremely precise in a vacuum, they are incredibly unreliable for our purposes on a variable-filled. softball or baseball field.

    At almost every camp we have ever run I will at some point have a new catcher test their own mental boundaries by placing an "unblockable pitch" 5 feet to their left or right. My promise to them is this - if they get their glove to the ground before everything else and keep their hands together through the block...they won't be picking dirt out of the teeth for a week. :-). What follows is almost always a great block, with the catcher centered up on a ball they never would have thought could be blocked, and a HUGE smile across their face.

    Hope this helps!
    Owner/Co-Founder The Catching Camp Jay@catchingcamp.com FOLLOW TCC ON FACEBOOK!
    I will forever miss you Dad. You are my hero. Heaven's catchers just got a whole heck of a lot better... (RIP Coach Weaver 1955-2011)

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    Checking out the clubhouse Spindaddy's Avatar
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    Good stuff, thanks Jay.

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