An area that is commonly overlooked when teaching young catchers
is giving signs. It is just assumed that a player will be able to flash
a few fingers and be on his way. This couldnít be further from the truth.
There are many catchers that are not proficient at sign giving. A small
problem such as this can lead to game time problems.
A catcher should give slow, controlled finger
movements. There is
no need to rush. The pitcher should be able to see the signs easily and
in a relaxed manner. The catcher's hand should be placed back against the
cup. The fingers should be pointing down. If the fingers are at an angle,
it will hard to see from 60 feet 6 inches. The last thing you want to have
happen is for a catcher to call a change-up and have the pitcher get confused
and throw a slider. Be sure the fingers are not placed too low. The hand should not be
so low that the on-deck hitter or individuals behind the catcher can see
the signs. Another area of concern is to close off both knees.
should be facing toward the pitcher. If the knees are open, the coaches
in the coaching box may be able to see the signs and relay them to the
hitter. There is nothing wrong with stealing signs if the catcher is doing
a poor job. Close off the knees and make the hitters beat you the hard
way. Also, have as little hand movement as possible. Donít give away location
of pitches with loud arm and hand movements. The key to sign giving is
to be slow, deliberate, and subtle.
The catcher's glove hand should always be in the same position when giving
regular signs and switched when giving
alternate signs when a runner is on second base. For example. If a catcher rests his glove on his left knee whenever he gives regular signs, then the catcher should
dangle his glove to his left side when using alternate signs. This gives a visual message to the pitcher that different signs are being used.
A third set of signs can be signaled by the catcher's glove being held behind
his back. If the catcher feels that the pitcher is unaware of sign-changing,
then the catcher should call time out and have a mound conference.