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Catcher Calling the Game


Wannabe Duck Boat Owner
Feb 21, 2009
New England
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....
Absolutely, it is a process with a learning curve. The sooner they start the process, within reason, the earlier they can become competent at it. And there should always be ongoing communication/feedback regarding strategy and information exchange between the catcher/coach +/- pitcher, as well as the option for the coach to override if they see or know something that the C or P don't.
Jan 24, 2011
You wouldn't believe how quickly a catcher learns just using this method....you don't have to just turn over the reins...
Hearing comments like this or similar to this always confuses me. Why would someone think if they allow the catcher to call the game they are "turning over the reins?" It is the coaches repsonsibility to watch and coach their catcher what may or may not be going well. A catcher calling her own pitches doesn't mean the coaching should stop, that's where it should start!

MTS, your method of choosing a pitch type and letting the catcher call the pitch definitely sounds like an excellent transitioning coaching tool. Gets the catcher used to the situational stuff for sure that way.

To me, it is not much different than letting a batter hit the ball, or a fielder field the ball. You watch, observe, and coach. Catchers should be coached the same way for their position. Their position should include calling pitches. I'm being a very liberal with that statement, obviously you take skillsets into consideration and much more help (or coaching) is needed at the younger levels, but hopefully everyone understands what I'm saying there.

Just as with anything in coaching, you have to determine what is best for the team, etc. So, if a catcher is having a bad day at the plate, perhaps you step in and pitch call, no different than you would remove a fielder that isn't fielding well or a batter that isn't hitting well that game or day.

Just my personal opinion, but I very strongly agree that a catcher who can call pitches will always be more valuable to a coach (college or otherwise) than one who can't, even if a coach doesn't allow a catcher to call at the highest levels.
Jun 10, 2010
I think its good for them to at least play a role in calling... if not call the game. I think good communication between the pitcher, coach and catcher has to be occurring. The catcher has to be coached...when you see patterns that aren't good...you have to let them know and have them make changes. Some catchers...will get lazy and call pitches that suit them. They justify the pitches in talk...as if they really have a reason but its just talk. Pitchers can do the same thing. So all three have to have input...and the coach has to pick up on the bull.
Jan 31, 2011
I'm a TB coach & I like the idea of our catchers involved in calling the game. It makes perfect sense to me that a C calling the game is more engaged. However, I have heard the opposite from college coaches..."My JOB depends on the success of my team. Why would I put my career in the hands of someone else?" Its hard for me to argue that point unless someone else in the dugout is calling the game...
Jul 26, 2010
This same question was asked of Ken Ericson and Mike Candrea at the ASA national coaching school a few weeks back. The answer given was "Yes, absolutely the catcher should call the game". There wasn't a maybe. Naturally this brought a lot of grumbles from the assembled audience of bucket dads who pressed further. Candrea said that when faced with the opportunity to recruit a catcher, if playing skills are equal or nearly so, he will go with the "cerebral" catcher every time. That seemed a good enough answer for me. They went on to say that even with all the video and scouting information, it's common for a batter to get coached between at bats, these kids are really good players at the college level, she may go up to bat the next time with a different approach, and the outcome suggested on your "chart" may be very different. A catcher can spot this change instantly, a pitch sheet cannot.

Look, I can probably hit better then a lot of 12 year old girls, but does that make it okay for me to go up to bat for them in a game? I might be able to call a game "better" then a lot of 12 year old catchers, but that doesn't mean that I should. What happens at the college level is pointless, what is important is that we give the kids a chance to learn how to call the game, so that if they are presented with the opportunity later in life, they have the skills to do so. Teaching is hard, it isn't a "one time thing", it takes a lot of practice. Our role as youth coaches is to TEACH first and foremost. Despite what many pot-bellied insecure coaches may think, it isn't to win.

Try this: Have your coach call an inning, and then have your catcher/pitcher call an inning, alternate, and talk about the pitches called, why they were called, the results, ect. You might even learn something from them.

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Out on good behavior
May 8, 2009
Amen W!

I have over a hundred employees in my real job. I went on a trip with a couple of friends last month. I was just amazed at how they were on their cells the whole trip. They had to be controlling everything all the time. I believe in "training my replacements.". Something is going to happen that I will miss work or miss a game.
Someone who trains and motivates the players, THAT is what I call a coaching! Thinking you need to controll the game, that is what I call JOYSTICKING!
Sep 14, 2009
I agree with most all of the reasons for catcher calling. My daughter is in second year of 12U travel ball and her coach has told her she is going to start calling pitches this year. I asked her about it and she said she is fine with it. She says once she sees a batter once, she has a pretty good idea what pitches will work best on them. Once given that responsibility, they will learn the batters even better, especially from teams they meet frequently in tournaments. Most college coaches that I have mentioned it to at clinics think it is a good idea to start teaching them young too.
Jun 23, 2011
I like to have my catchers call the game. It is part of the learning process, but I only surrender this after I believe they have the confidence to handle it. We talk between innnings about what she called and will call next inning, I like for them to be able to explain why they make the calls.

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