Blocking the ball effectively means keeping a bounced pitch in front of your body and making sure the resulting ricochet stays close enough to stop base runners from advancing.
Let's focus on the second part of the equation -- keeping the ricochet close to your body.
Hip to Be Square
To consistently accomplish this, a few things must happen. First, the receiver's body must be square to the incoming bounce. Secondly, the catcher must stop moving by the time he and the ball collide.
The resulting impact when two moving objects (ball and catcher) bounce off each other is explosive. Conversely, if the catcher is quick enough to be waiting for a wild pitch, the ricochet will be muted.
It's All in the Breath
Now for the cherry on top. To take your blocking to the next level, EXHALE when you and the ball meet.
This will soften your body and further deaden the impact. Is a ball going to bounce farther off a wall or a pillow?
Brent Mayne is a 15-year veteran of the Major Leagues. He ranks 75th in the history of baseball with 1,143 pro games caught, and his .993 career fielding percentage is 4th all-time. Brent is the author of the book "The Art of Catching"--a comprehensive guide to teaching and building defensive catching skills.