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Catching Skills

Framing The Pitch

 

The most important aspect of framing is to frame strikes and borderline pitches. Donít waste your or the umpires time by trying to frame balls that are not in the zone. Simply catch the ball and return it to the pitcher and get ready for the next pitch. By framing pitches that are not strikes, you make yourself look like a bad catcher, and you may make the umpire look bad. If you make the umpire look bad, he will not be anxious to help you on a borderline pitch.

One key to framing is to catch the top half, bottom half and side half of the ball. When you catch the ball, you should show the umpire the other half of the baseball. For example, if the pitch is on the inner half of the plate, you should catch the left side of the ball (assuming a right handed batter) and show the umpire the right side of the ball. The rest is true for pitches up, down, and out. Couple that with a weight shift toward location, and you have mastered the beginning skills of framing. It is most effective if the catcher can move his body with the baseball. A catcher can sway on his ankles and move with the pitch.

It is very important to beat the baseball to the spot of contact. By this it is NOT meant to extend your hand and arm so far as to get hit by a swinging bat. Donít let the ball control you. Beat the ball to the spot and stick it. Make sure you do not hold the pitch for too long. This may upset an umpire. He may think you are showing him up by holding a frame for a long time. Keep the umpire on your side. Also, donít allow the baseball to knock you glove around. Be firm with your frame.

The glove arm should be tension free and relaxed. It should not fully extend when the ball is caught. Trust your eyes. The ball will come to you. As it approaches, your wrist should relax. There can be a slight glove drop or turn in order to relax the hand. Do not allow your glove to move too far. A slight wrist drop or turn is appropriate for relaxing the hand for contact.



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