Pitcher Catcher Relationship: Nonverbal and Verbal Communication to Teammates

Written By Bryan Ingalls

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Pitcher Catcher Relationship

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We have talked immensely about the communication and the relationship between the Pitcher and the Catcher, but communication should not end just there. The battery working well together without a doubt enhances each others talents and abilities but also the other seven players on the field have your back as well. The defense should not be left out of the equation so it is very important that they know what is going on and everyone is on the same page.

Small forms of communication take place constantly throughout the game and sometimes can be taken for granted but should always be thought about. Every player on the team should know the signals for pitches. Most players and coaches may think “What do we need to know them for? I am not a pitcher or a catcher.” But it is your job to defend and if you know what pitch and location is coming it can and will help you in setting up and getting a jump on some of the balls. If you know that a drop ball is coming, you know that there is a better chance for a ground ball coming than a rise ball. If the mental game and learning how to read a hitter is taught, then knowing what pitch to call is certainly a very important piece of information without a doubt.

This game can be very complicated yet at the same time very simple if there is the right thought process. In between every pitch you have a few seconds as a defender to think about the situation that may or may not take place. What do I do on a ground ball to my left or right or if I am charging or if it is hit hard? Little things like that are very important. So as those thoughts go through your head the communication with your other fielders take place. Talk with the fielder next to you, talk about who is covering what bag or where you position yourself in the field so maybe the player next to you can make adjustments. All of these little adjustments can be made based on the batter and pitch and location.

A couple of the big things a pitcher can relay to the fielders are simple hand gestures as to who has the bag at second on a groundball back to them. You cannot turn two without the first one, but if the first out comes smoother and more efficient then you will have a better opportunity of getting that second out. The catcher also plays a big role in reminders.

Since day one it has been said that the catcher is the field general and is the boss on the field. Small things like who covers what on a bunt, who is covering second base on the steal, who is backing up, etc. If you think there is nothing to do and nothing to talk about than you are mistaken, Softball like many sports is a sport that is full of communication and you rely on your teammates more than ever.

As a catcher myself, one thing that I always make sure is relayed to the fielders is who is covering second base and always giving the first and third basemen the pitches. Those are non verbal cues that to the average eye may always go unnoticed. But the corner infielders are in the line of fire and if I can give them a heads up that this pitch is designed to go their way it helps the team become more successful and also gives them an avenue to protect themselves along the way.

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Bryan Ingalls : Bryan began coaching Softball at 19 years old while still playing baseball and began coaching at the college level at 21. He has spent 5 years as an assistant for Herkimer County Community College an SUNY Cortland and one season as a Head Coach at SUNY Canton. Bryan has also played competitive Men's Fastpitch for the last 6 years through the USA and Canada as a Catcher. Currently he is completing his degree in Sport Science as well as constructing a multi sport indoor and outdoor facility in Central New York along with instructing youth in all phases of the game while trying to instill the passion and enthusiasm that is needed to succeed.

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