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Catching Skills

Fielding Popups

 

Fly balls on the infield should be automatic outs, not an adventure. Catcher's should become proficient at fielding all balls hit up in the air, and in their area. They can also serve as a traffic cop, alerting players to get out of the way of other fielders.

 

Being ready for a popup around the plate starts before the game. When you get to the ballpark, check your surroundings. Know where your obstacles are, inspect the fences, overhangs, and dugouts. Know the wind direction. Catchers are usually in charge of balls in the gray shaded area shown at the left.

When a batter comes to the plate, you can assume that when

 

he fouls off a ball in the air, it will start off away from the hitter (right handed batter's ball goes to the catcher's right, left handed batter goes to the catcher's left.) One of the most important things to remember: The spin of the ball will bring the ball back toward the field on its way down. This is part of the physics of baseball.

 

As the ball goes up, take off your mask and get out in front of home plate while locating the ball, turning your back to the infield. You should take off your mask, but NOT throw it away yet. Walk in the direction you think the ball went. If you can't find it, look to your pitcher, who should be pointing and calling out the location. Once you locate the ball, run to the general area where you think the ball will come down. As the ball begins to come down, walk on the balls of your feet. This will keep your head on the same plane and make it easier to keep focus on the ball.


1. Locating the ball

 


2. Running to the ball

DO NOT run with the glove in the air. Your hands should be above your waist but below your shoulders. Throw your mask in the opposite direction to keep it from getting tangled with your feet. Try not to hit the umpire or a teammate. The catcher should wait to put the glove up when he is in position to make the catch.

As the ball comes down you should be creeping forward. Never run or drift backward. Its always easier to run forward if you have to. You should not camp directly under the ball. Let the ball start to fall in front of you and come back towards you.

Put your glove up and make the catch. Go for everything unless you are called off by an infielder. If you're near the fence, use your arm to find the fence and keep your feet clear of the bottom of the fence. Reach up to catch the ball above your head; don't stab at it. If there are runners on base, make the catch and turn quickly toward fair territory to check the runners. If they are off the bag, throw behind them to your defensive player.

Work hard to insure balls that are outs, remain outs. Don't give a hitter another chance to hit.



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