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calling pitches

Jan 19, 2009
In high school ball, how many of you have catchers who call the pitches, and how many of you have coaches who call the pitches?

For those of you who allow the catchers to call the pitches, how much time do you spend going over what to call when?

If you as coach, or your coach, calls the pitches, what method do you use to signal the signs to the catcher? I am interested in finding out if there is an easy way to do this. Right now, I call most pitches, but I think I have been picked up a few times. At different points, I allow the catcher to call them too.
May 5, 2008
We usually train our catchers to call games. However, if this is not a skill that they've previously had any training in, then we usually work with them before allowing them to go 100% solo. Then there are other situations where we'll just give a NO zone on particular batters and they can call anything else they want, but they do not call any pitches in the NO zone.

Last year, we had a senior catcher and she called all the games. This year we have a sophomore catcher who is spending her first season as a full time catcher, so we're still helping her out. However, we are talking with her about pitch calling so that she can learn it for herself and eventually take over doing it.

As far as signs - some use signs similar to offensive signals (touches to different parts of the body). I've never really learned that.

Other than that, we just use a number series and mix up when the live signal is actually given if necessary.

It also helps to get the catcher the signal as quickly as possible after the previous pitch. If you have one coach on the other side dedicated to watching you, then it won't matter, but if the coaches are paying attention to other things, a lot of times after a particular pitch their attention is focused on the batter or on runners or on writing notes, or on marking the score book etc. Sometimes you can sneak most of your signal in before they turn their attention to you.

As far as time spent with them, we'll usually go over the opponent line-up prior to the game. If it's not a team we know, then as we collect data, we'll go over the first few batters of the upcoming inning. If we see something during an inning, we'll pull the pitcher/catcher and discuss it with them as soon as that inning is over.

A lot of instruction is done pre-season where we let them make more calls on their own and instruct along the way or between innings and after the game.
Nov 1, 2008
not to thread jack, but i'd like to hear what some of you have to say about what pitch to call and when. i know there are thousands of possibilities based on the pitches that the pitcher can throw and the level of competition and hundreds of other variables. but there have to be some basic tips you all have to help on the learning curve.
Nov 1, 2008
thanks for the link. that whole website looks interesting. looks like i've got something to read for the rest of the week.


Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
OK so I called every pitch, every pickoff play, every everything while I coached my hs baseball team. Well, that is the party line. The truth was I created signals that allowed my pitcher, catcher and myself to work together.

Example - All signals are either touches or vocals and have "keys" that the players can remember. I use a signaling system using the face. If I start with the nose, I ask the catcher to say to themselves, "I nose what to call." They then watch me until I'm done signaling but they are, in fact, calling the pitch. If I yell out to the pitcher, "You can shake this one off," then they are shaking until they get the pitch they want to throw. If I go "nose" to a catcher, I might say we're staying with this sign until I say differently. Then, the catcher knows that they are calling the entire inning. However, if they tap their head, they are saying to me, "Coach, off the top of my head, I don't know what to call." So, then I call.

Gosh, I hope this all makes sense. You can't do any of this unless you work with your catcher and pitcher. We all have to trust each other and be on the same page.

BTW, if I yell, "How many down?" I hope you're all "down" with what we're doing!:eek::D


Jun 24, 2008
Emmetsburg, Ia
Our HS team keeps it simple. When my DD started varsity as an 8th grader the coach didn't know much about pitching and what to call or when to call it. So, he let her call the game. Next year's new coach was a pitcher in college, but because my DD called the game the previous year she let her do it again. We have a new coach this season, my DD is now a Junior, and he says he'll let her call the game but he'll be paying close attention and will take over if needed. She and her pitcher are best friends and have spent all of their softball "career" together so they have a special connection and know what the other is thinking. She very rarely shakes off the pitch my DD calls. Works for them.

Sep 15, 2009
I call the pitches, however I still work on my catchers understanding why I call certain pitches at certain times. What I have learned to call just came from experience as being a catcher and learning my pitchers pressure pitches and how they do. I think it is important to have the catchers learn the concept of how to call a game. You may not always have a coach who wants to call pitches. As for how I call I stick with number order. For outside stick with odd numbers, they can remeber OO Outside Odd. Inside even. Then assign each pitch a number and if I know the other team knows the pitch calls switch the order because I give four signs and mix them up. Hope that helps.

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