Throwing and catching a baseball. It is about the most fundamental baseball skill there is. It is also probably one of the most ignored. It is one of my baseball coaching, check that, it’s one of my biggest, most grating-on-my-last-nerve, plain coaching any sport, pet peeves.
Baseball is generally broken down into three major parts: Pitching, Fielding, and Batting. In case you didn’t notice, throwing and catching a baseball comprise two of those three major parts.
Pitching is throwing to a catcher, right? And fielding on defense is catching baseballs and throwing baseballs. Like I said, skills that encompasses 66.66% of the game. In my opinion, being able to throw and catch a baseball are the most vital skills you can possess as a team, or as an individual.
Poor catching and throwing often means poor baseball skill, which often translates to poor quality of team. As a player, take pride in how your throw and catch a baseball. As a coach, take pride in how each player of your team throws and catches a baseball.
Nothing puts a burr in my backside faster than watching a baseball team warm up before a game and seeing the ball hit the grass more than it hits gloves. Nothing is more embarrassing as a coach, than to watch your team running around the outfield chasing baseballs in some sort of demented circus routine. I’ve pulled teams off the field in pregame and pre-practice before due to playing chase, instead of catch.
Learn to throw and learn to catch. Find help if you need it.
For the coaches, hold the line and be firm and consistent from day one. Demand that your team throws and catches a baseball appropriate to their level. The simplest, single thing you can do to make your baseball team more successful is to improve throwing and catching a baseball.
Here is my basic coaching and teaching plan:
Focus on every throw and catch.
Consistency – Hit your partner in the torso with every throw.
- 4 seam grip
- Throwing Arm -Elbow above shoulder, wrist outside of elbow, hand with ball pointing back.
- Lead Arm – Shoulder and elbow pointing at target.
- Front Foot – Slightly open with outside stepping to target
Throwing (5-6 throws from each distance)
- 30 feet apart
- 60 feet apart
- 90 feet apart
- 120 feet apart (Long Toss = Builds arm strength)
- Sprint to 30 feet for 5 quick throws
- Keep it simple with a soft glove to the ball. Go and get it.
- Where you glove goes, your off hand follows.
Take pride in your throwing and catching skills. Work on it every day. Focus and concentrate when you play catch. Talk, joke, or have all the fun you want, but remember the focus needs to stay on throwing and catching the ball.
Never forget this: If you can effectively throw and catch a baseball, you will be competitive in every game.