6 Things That Make a Great Fastpitch Catcher? Besides a Great Arm!
When we think of fastpitch catchers we often think of a powerful arm. A girl who can sit behind the dish, and from her knees – throw a ‘rope’ from her knees to second base (or first or third) that basically hits her infielder in the glove to get the out!
Yes, a good arm is paramount to being a great catcher. But there are a whole lot of others factor that contribute to a catchers success – just as much, and often more so than just having a good arm. And many of these things come from having a strong MIND!
- Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em! Just like Kenny Rogers advice to poker players, a catcher HAS to know when to throw and when not to. They have to be smart. 2 outs, 2 strikes and a runner on 3rd – HOLD! This is just ONE reason why a good catcher always knows a) the count, and b) the amount of outs, the score, where the other team is in the line up etc. One bad throw from a good strong arm, can be the difference between a winning and losing run!
- Having thick skin! Base runners love to taunt a catcher. And a catcher who reacts to every taunt is not going to be great at her job, because she is playing from a place of emotion rather than skill! In other words, sit back there like a cat about to pounce on it’s prey. Quiet and calm and under control and un-suspecting and then BLAMMMM – you got her when she takes off, and she never saw it coming. If base runners or other teams think they can get you to throw and fake and lose control, then eventually based on simple math you are going to throw the ball away. And a an opponent will definitely take advantage of this if you show them you lack self control behind the plate. Let’s leave the “Crazy” during games up to the parents.
- The ability to cool down your pitcher. You and her have a special relationship once you step over the foul lines. You are the one who can calm her down, and renew her confidence. Consider yourself a counselor or a cheerleader. You also have to earn her trust, (and she yours) and let her know you got her back. This takes self confidence, and maturity and a lot of patience. Look – you may not get the kudos you often deserve, but the reality is that anyone who knows fastpitch softball, KNOWS that catchers do a lot of work that goes unnoticed. But we know the pitcher did not strike all those people out by herself, or
- Athleticism. TO be THE best you can behind the plate, you need to be in good physical shape, and agile and able to move fast! You can’t move like your feet are stuck in the mud. The older you get the more important it is for a catcher to be an athlete. And that’s more than having a strong arm. This means working on agilities and speed and pop time. And this means a commitment to work outside of regular practice to keep yourself as sharp as possible. It’s not easy moving around with all that gear on, but the more you are committed to your overall fitness – the better you will be behind the plate.
- Respect for the Blu! You and the umpires will spend a lot of time together throughout a tournament. Develop a good relationship with them, and keep your feelings to yourself. If you think your pitcher is throwing strikes and Blu doesn’t call them, ask him politely where she is missing and pass it on to your pitcher. Don’t roll your eyes, shake your head, or otherwise question his strike zone. (And yes, we know what you are thinking cuz everyone else is probably thinking it too) Make him an ally by being a player HE/SHE respects. Plus, the vast majority of these men and women standing out there in the heat are doing it because they LOVE the game and the kids who play it.
- Leadership! Leadership is not often what young girls think it is. It isn’t telling others what to do, or being the boss, or being seen as the head of the team. And you can’t appoint yourself a leader. Leadership is an attitude, and example. Leadership comes from BEING what you expect your teammates to be. Leaders boost other people up, never get involved in drama, and constantly try to be the positive and encouraging voice! A catcher sees everything that is on the field! They are the eyes and EARS! And strong catchers lead. No matter what the team is doing, a catching with leadership can step in and with a few words turn around the energy on the team. We will have more about leadership later this week, so be sure to sign up for our emails so you will never miss a post!
What other factors (besides the great arm) do you think make a great fastpitch catcher?
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This is do true. I became catcher when our catcher didn’t show up to a game. They put me in then never took me out of the position for the rest of the session. I never thought of me, a tiny girl become a catcher, then I got asked by two travel teams to become there catchers.