There is no momentum breaker better than throwing someone out from behind the plate. The success rate in softball for stolen bases is extremely high, much higher than baseball is, and some coaches like to teach their Catchers one way to throw. Some are adamant about throwing the ball standing up and others like to have them throw from their knees.
Throwing a runner out is not all about having a great arm. The quickness of the release combined with an accurate strong throw goes hand in hand. If it takes you an extra couple tenths to get the ball out of your glove and load up, what does it really matter if your throw is a tenth of a second faster. As a Catcher your goal should be to get the ball out of your glove and out of your hand accurately to second base whatever way possible.
Some coaches do not like to teach throwing from their knees, and personally I just do not understand that point of view but there is never one right way or wrong way. If you as a Catcher have the ability to do both very well than you give yourself and your pitcher a very distinct advantage because then you do not have to change the way you call a game from an up and down in and out aspect. Sure the old mindset is, the rise ball is a great pitch to throw on. Well I ask “Why?” You have an idea of when someone may steal, but it is never certain, and sometimes that may not be the pitch that you really want to throw in that situation. If you only throw from your knees then a rise ball is not a good pitch to throw on.
Just like in anything with this sport having multiple skill sets just gives you an advantage over the competition. You should be able to do both interchangeably. If you concern yourself more with what pitch to call to try and throw a runner out you are putting in less focus to the hitter and at that particular time that is the most important thing that you have to deal with. Remember in previous articles we have talked about taking things one pitch at a time, this is a perfect example.
However you throw it is important to have proper mechanics; the grip of the ball, the correct push with the back leg, hip drive and trunk rotation. Those are the basics for anyone throwing a ball in the upright position. That does not change when throwing from your knees. You still receive the pitch, you still get the good grip on the ball, you still rotate your trunk and you still get a good push off of your back leg. You can get just about as much power doing it correctly than you would by standing up without the added steps of actually getting in the upright position. That alone will save you a couple tenths of a second and in the base stealing world that is huge!
I use the simple rule when throwing. If you have a strong enough arm to throw on a level plane, all the way through on a line throw from your knees as much as possible because it does save time without a doubt. Same goes when you are trying to pick people off. That in itself is another topic but it is all about deception. But if the pitch takes you upward then throw standing up and go with it, if the throw keeps you down throw it from your knees.
Again, you want to get the ball out of your glove as quick as possible accurately but the last thing you want to do is jump the gun and be coming up out of your catching stance and the Pitcher misses the ball down or vice versa. Then all of a sudden you don’t catch the ball and the runner now gets second base and maybe even third. One pitch at a time and one step at a time is always the motto. You cannot throw it unless you catch it and the pitch is always the priority.
The best way to improve your throw out percentage is to practice your transfer, regardless of whether you are standing up or throwing from your knees the quicker the transfer from glove to hand and out is the best way to enhance your pop times. This can be practiced even by yourself by throwing the ball up to yourself and getting it out of your glove.
To recap, don’t ever call pitches thinking about a base runner, that is when doubles and homeruns happen. Adjust your game and your throws based on how you have to get that hitter out. Pitch by Pitch, task by task. As the Catcher you have to make everyone around you better and put them in a position to succeed. With that being said, practice your throws from your knees, and practice throw throws popping up out of the stance. The quicker you can do that and the faster your transfer can be the better chance you will have to not only get hitters out but base runners out as well and quiet that other teams rally.
|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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