In a past tip, we explored the importance of keeping a blocked ball close to your body so you could bounce on it and stop an advancing runner.
That pointer included the technique of exhaling when the wild pitch hit your chest in order to insure a "soft, pillow-like" ricochet.
Here's another great way to keep a blocked ball close.
How It’s Done
Upon impact with the pitch in the dirt, roll your shoulders forward a bit. Done correctly, this creates an air-gap between your body and the chest protector which will deaden the blow.
Imagine the different reactions of a ball thrown off a wall vs. a ball thrown off a chain link fence. The ball off the wall will come back to you while the ball off the fence will drop dead.
Obviously, you want to be the fence instead of the wall. Take note: you may need to fiddle with the fit of your chest protector to make sure it comes off your body and creates that gap of air when you roll your shoulders.
Once you have that taken care of though, you're off to the races.
Good luck, have fun and keep your eye on the ball.
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.