In today’s video blog post, I am continuing to talk more about catcher conditioning, and introduce a fantastice catcher conditioning drill. This is the “Pop-Up” Drill for Catchers. The object of this drill is to teach our catchers how to put themselves in proper position to field a pop-up.
The “Pop-Up” Drill for Softball Catchers
On the shorter pop-ups where the catcher won’t have time to remove their helmet, and then on the higher pop-ups where they will remove their helmet, the first thing they do is locate the ball. Once they know where the ball’s at, then they throw their helmet away. The purpose of that is so she doesn’t step on it, trip it, and injure herself, or affect her ability to make the play.
Another important point is that when the catcher comes up on a high pop-up that’s behind her or along the line at all, the catcher needs to put their back to the infield. The purpose for this is most all balls that are popped up off the bat will tend to flow back towards the infield as they come down. If your back is facing the backstop, you will have to try to extend for the ball and it makes catching the pop-up far more difficult.
For this drill, do five repetitions to start on just short ones. And you can make the reps whatever you’d like. I’d recommend 20-25 for each area.
- Move to the ball with your lower body first. If the catcher comes up and extends and reaches and the ball ends up being farther, she’s not going to be able to make that play. You want your first reaction to any ball to be lower body first.
- When you do have to extend, it’s a good idea to pull your glove back into your chest and trap the ball to your chest protector. So that way, if it is bouncing or bobbling in your glove, you can still pin it to your chest protector to make the play.
- On higher pop-ups, she will remove her mask. Make certain that her back is towards the infield. Keep a wide base. And then once she locates the ball, she throws her mask a good distance away so as to not worry about stepping on it during making the play.
- You want to make sure that you get rid of the mask before you actually move into your catching position so that you don’t hinder your ability to make the play.
- You want to avoid extending your arms early. It’s a last resort. You use your lower body to move to the ball and extension of your arms is a last resort.
For more great catcher conditioning drills, be sure to check out my Softball Drills and Practice Plans program, complete with video deomonstrations of each drill discussed. And don’t forget to Become a Fan on Facebook, where I will share more great catcher conditioning ideas and suggestions, and where you can talk to other coaches and players about other important outfield conditioning practices!