Not a popular opinion, but I’m not a fan of “hiding” the throwing hand to protect it.DD attended a Catching Camp with Jay Weaver before she moved over to pitching full-time. From what I remember, the part about catching close to the body had to do with throwing hand position with runners on base. They taught to keep your throwing hand low behind the shin with the bases empty, but there was a different posture with runners on.
They advised to keep the throwing hand around the chest, but just behind the glove to prevent getting hit with a foul ball, hence the move to bring the glove a little closer to the body. This was the optimum position for throwing out runners.
I remember sharing this with DD's regular catching coach at the time, who thought it was a bad idea for the reason RADcatcher pointed out: the receiving hand should be extended to stop the ball before it left the strike zone. DD didn't like her hand exposed, so she always kept it behind her leg, even with runners on.
I probably didn't explain that very well as I think you're advocating the same thing. By keeping the throwing hand up at chest level, there is no time wasted reaching for the ball. Hands are together immediately and in good throwing position. 'Hiding' the throwing hand just meant keeping it behind the glove to prevent injury.Not a popular opinion, but I’m not a fan of “hiding” the throwing hand to protect it.
Wherever the throwing hand starts, everything should be in simultaneous motion and working to the same point. The glove and throwing hand should both be coming up to the throwing position and meeting as part of the transition (think of relay runners handing off the baton). For me that happened at about my breast, but that can vary by player. All one continuous motion in conjunction with any other body movement. The throwing hand should never waste time reaching for the ball.
Just playing devil’s advocate. How many catchers do you know that have sustained a hand injury from a foul tip? DD hasn’t had one since 10U. Assuming a ball hits a fist during both techniques, is it better to get hit with fist above the thigh where it can give, or against the chest where the fist would be crushed between ball and chest?With the hand behind the glove, the hand stays in the "shadow" of the glove - glove goes forward to receive, hand stays behind by chest protector. Hand behind shin guard, much harder to get hand around to front of body and behind glove to drop and block.
I've seen SOOOO many pictures of catchers (including D1 and probably MLB catchers) where their throwing hand is flying out exposed right before they catch the ball. It's like hitting - I'd bet they think they're keeping their hand protected the whole time, but the camera is saying otherwise.
Lastly - if you're thinking "what about pitches that require you to reach up/down/sideways - how do you stay in the shadow of the glove?" - I'm in agreement with the thought that if it's that far out of the strike zone, the batter's not going to be swinging anyway.
Again ... just based on my personal preference, but ^that.Just playing devil’s advocate. How many catchers do you know that have sustained a hand injury from a foul tip? DD hasn’t had one since 10U. Assuming a ball hits a fist during both techniques, is it better to get hit with fist above the thigh where it can give, or against the chest where the fist would be crushed between ball and chest?
Full disclosure, I’m not a hand against the chest guy. I don’t have an issue with catchers who do it, I just don’t buy that it’s any safer, or faster than beside the thigh.