Catching in Softball is a game of failure so more often than not. That's exactly what will happen especially on the offensive side of the game. The game is built off of many individual battles within the team concept so concentrating on your task at hand is vital to whatever success you may have, especially at the Catcher position.
As we have discussed before the Catcher is the general and the boss on the field so it is very important that other factors throughout the game are not affecting your catching duties in a negative way, more so your offensive game. Many coaches consider anything contributed offensively from their catcher is a bonus as long as they are calling a great game and receiving stealing strikes.
Catching Requires Complete Focus
The worst thing that a Catcher can do is bring their at bats behind the plate because catching requires the up most focus and you owe it to your pitcher and the rest of your team for the 100% focus every pitch. Every competitor wants to succeed at every aspect in their game. It is only natural and it is perfectly fine getting upset if you have a bad at bat or are having a bad game offensively. Take your time after your at bat to do what you have to do to clear your head and focus for when you have to go and do your job behind the plate.
The simple act of putting on your catcher's gear can act as that fresh slate that you can use to zone in on your job and put that last at bat behind you. There are eight other people in the lineup that have the same job as you hitting but there is nobody there to back you up while you are catching so that needs to be your focus.
The thing that you have to remember being a Catcher is that you have so many responsibilities and so much is asked from you mentally and physically. It is extremely hard to be on point offensively every game when the mental and physical exhaustion kicks in, but a mistake behind the plate is much more costly that a mistake at the plate.
Separate Your Game From The Rest
There are certain things that you can do to help yourself offensively in practice knowing the workload that you put in as a Catcher. Try and take your offensive reps before you do your Catching reps. When you do that you are fresh. Sometimes when you are tired, your fundamentals at the plate lack due to exhaustion. That may create bad muscle memory that you will need in the game.
Do a lot of leg work strength wise and stretching wise. Mental exhaustion kicks in when the body becomes physically tired so if you train your body the right way physically, you can stay even more mentally strong longer throughout the game, weekend, and season.
Throughout the game talk to your pitcher about the game plan. We have talked about this before as a necessity for making adjustments and staying true to your plan, but by doing this you stay focused on what you have to do when you go back out there. If your focus is on your last at bat, be it positive or negative, it may affect a pitch the next inning in the field. So talk to your pitcher, talk to your teammates, try not to sulk or even boast about an at bat because it takes away from your job.
The Success And Failures In Softball Catching
The great thing about this game is that it is so mental and every person and player are different so not the same things work for everyone. Find what works for you to have a clear and focused head by the time you go back out onto the field. Like I said earlier, it is natural to be upset if your at bat was not what you planned or be excited if it was successful. Take your time in being upset. Take your thirty seconds or a minute to get it out. Do not let it build up. If its positive, be excited but when it is time to put that equipment back on its to “ear up” literally and figuratively.
Find your routine but just like everything else what you do before the games to prepare can help or haunt you in the tasks that you have in your game and individual battles throughout. Separate your game, focus on those individual battles and leave the past or future ones out of your task at hand. You are the Catcher, you are the Boss, you are the last line of defense, be that Leader that your Pitcher, Teammates and Coaches want and need you to be.
|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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