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Become a Great Catcher by Turning Balls Into Strikes!

With thanks to Olympic catcher, Marissa Warburton, and Leigh Martyn of FM Softball, here are tips and drills to ensure you get those balls turned into strikes - it is all about framing!

Camp Director Leigh Martyn lets all of her catchers at softball camp know first and foremost that the way a pitch is caught and held is called "framing" - it is one of the most important fundamentals for a catcher to nail down. The manner in which a catcher frames various types of pitches can at times determine if a strike or a ball is called by the umpire. By framing a pitch correctly, you can become great at turning a ball into a strike and show coaches how good you truly are! Below is a brief checklist to frame properly along with 3 drills to help you perfect your technique.

Checklist

  • Catch the ball out in front of your body
  • Sway from side to side with your body depending on where the pitch was located. Stay loose
  • Snap out in front and glove in towards plate for low pitches
  • Snap down and glove horizontal for high pitches
  • Important to stay loose as pitch is on the way. Soft hands

Drills

  1. Shadow Drill - Working with another catcher in front of you, both squat down and have your coach say where the imaginary pitch is. For example, inside and low. At the same time, both show the frame for a low and inside pitch. See what one another is doing and critique each others performance based on the checlist above.
  2. Catching Tennis Balls with Bare Hand - Get into catching position with no glove. Get your coach to flip tennis balls to different location in and around the strike zone. Must use soft hands to catch the ball and try not to make much sound on the catch with your hand. As you get better, have the balls thrown at you harder.
  3. Framing Pitches - Best done with a pitching machine. Move around behind the plate to simulate both inside and outside pitches. Practise staying loose, swaying from side to side and framing each pitch. This is a great drill also for building stamina and strength in your leg muscles. This drill should be done regularly and constant repitiions will lead to improvement.

Be sure to check out other recent softball tips if you are looking to improve your skills today.

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