The catcher impacts the pace of a game more than just about everyone else on the field. In basketball it's the point guard who has the option to push action or stall. In baseball, the catcher controls momentum.
Here are a some tips to help young backstops take charge of a game--and put their team in the best position to win.
Why Tempo is Important
As a receiver, you must take responsibility and realize that how quickly you move, give signs, catch the ball, and get it back to the pitcher has a direct impact on the length of a game.
Make no mistake about it, baseball is a game played slowly. It's easy and comfortable to play this way.
Matter of fact, 99 percent of all people playing this game ONLY know how to compete at a leisurely pace. Use this fact to your advantage.
Making Hustle a Weapon
Catchers, if you can learn how to hustle and play quickly, you'll add another weapon to your defensive arsenal and have a positive impact on the game. Here are but a few of the benefits:
- You'll help your pitcher find a groove and minimize the amount of time he has to think (a good thing).
- You'll disrupt the offense's rhythm and help keep your defense on it's toes.
- Not to mention, you'll make it home in time to eat dinner, do your homework, and maybe even watch some TV!
So, take control. Bounce around and push the pace. Let's get rid of the 3.5 hour game.
Trust me, your coach will love you more, the fans will love you more, and your girlfriend will love you more. But most importantly, I'll love you more.
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.