Austin Hedges : Catching Tips

Jun 18, 2024

Tip 1: Know Your Pitcher 

  • One of the most basic ways to ensure your pitchers like throwing to you is to get to know them on a personal level. Spend time with each guy outside of practice, or during batting practice to learn what makes them tick. Some guys need you to fire them, some guys need you to keep them calm, but every guy needs something different. Learn their language. Additionally, listen to the coaching they receive in bullpens. You need to learn the mental cues that they use to stay locked in and consistent. If you know a guy has a hard time throwing his CB high enough in 0-0 counts, then you can set a slightly higher visual target with your glove to help them out. 

Tip 2 : Be Intentional w/ Your Targets 

  • Setting clear & early targets will win you a lot of fans on a pitching staff. There's nothing worse than a catcher who is moving around as you are delivering the ball, forcing you to throw to a moving target. Set the glove early and keep it stable. Another important note on this is that catchers will often show where they want the pitcher to aim with their glove, and then move the glove back to the regular target position. For example: If a pitcher is in an 0-2 count and we want him to throw the ball in the dirt, give the sign and then tap the dirt with your glove to show the pitcher where you want the pitch to go. Then move your glove back up into the bottom part of the zone and set your target. Showing with your glove really helps a pitcher visualize what you want him to do. 

Tip 3 : Keep a Quiet Body & Glove

  • When framing, it's important to not overdo the glove movement. If the umpire sees you working too hard to get a call it's a sign to him that the pitch was probably a ball and you know it. Be calm with your body and only move the ball back to the nearest part of the strike zone, not the middle of the zone. Staying smooth and fluid on frames versus tense and rigid will give off the impression that you are very confident the pitch was a strike. Body language influences umpires. 
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