softball catching

softball catchingIn order to be able to fully help your softball catchers, it is beneficial to have a thorough understanding of the skill from as many angles as possible. Following is what can refered to as a referent model or softball catching analysis that will give you some ideas on how to improve small specific pieces of the skill that need to be refined.

Softball Catching Analysis Considerations

The best way to analyze softball skills is with video analysis.  The ability to slow the motion down and see specific movements by the player will allow you to not only take not of the refinements but also allows the player to see it as well.  This will be useful in the development of kinesthetic awareness.

Technical / Tactical Skill Factors

We don’t always consider it but catching is a technical and tactical skill.  How and when the player catches the ball will determine the ultimate success.

Some Technical Errors for Softball Catching

Technical Errors Improvement Strategies
poor positioning use mirror drills
poor throwing mechanics work individually
not square to the pitch give signal early
poor blocking mechanics practice specifically
poor toss to the plate use a bucket to practice
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Some Tactical Errors for Softball Catching

Tactical Factors Improvement Strategies
doesn’t know the plays read the team handbook
inability to read the batter get educated, observe batters
lack of experience get game / practice experience
doesn’t know the signals make them simple
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Psychological Requirements

Softball is a game that has a lot of psychological barriers for athletes during competition.  The psychology of catching requires skills that are going to have a

  • Narrow Focus – watching the pitch to the glove / blocking
  • Broad Focus – keeping an eye on the runner / runners
  • Confidence – able to control a game and be vocal
  • Concentration – not distracted by the batter or runners
  • Emotional Control – not affected by environment (fans, etc.)

Some Psychological Challenges for Catching

Psychological Factors Improvement Strategies
poor rapport with the pitcher work as teammates not friends
distracted by environment cue words / self talk
not focused on the batter have a game plan
focusing on baserunners work on task at hand
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Physical Requirements

Softball is a power sport that requires the following biomotor skills:

  • Coordination – transition
  • Balance – transition
  • Speed – transition
  • Agility – blocking etc
  • Power – transition
  • Flexibility – throwing
  • Aerobic Stamina – recovery / up and down
  • Maximum Strength – throwing

Some Physical Challenges for Catching

Physical Factors Improvement Strategies
stamina in the legs wall sits
reaction time agility drills
coordination (transition) timing drills
strength (throwing) weight training / weighted balls
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Performance Outcome Factors

Every softball skills is executed with a desired outcome.  That outcome however can be broken down just as the skill itself is.  Here are some expected outcomes that you might have.

Expected Outcome Mechanics / Biomechanics
receives the ball in strike zone good at framing
throws out a runner if needed feet staggered ready to throw
calls the right pitch weight slightly on back foot
good toss on a passed ball good throwing mechanics
knows where the runners are good transition to throwing
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Interventions

As coaches, error detection and correction is what we do.  There is a time and a place however for that activity to occur.  During competition is generally not the time.  Following is a few recommended paths you can take to help your players improve their skills.

Intervention Timing
Break down the skill During practice
Kinesthetic feedback During practice
Skill instruction During practice
Provide a mentor During practice
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Summary
Softball Catching
Article Name
Softball Catching
Description
Pitchers need a catcher who is confident, skilled and knowledgeable about the game. How do you analyze the catcher for improvement.
Author
Publisher Name
Softball Tutor
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