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Softball & Baseball Practice Drills
Coaching 1.0 Software Package released: August 1999

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Blocking Drills


Blocking Drills

1) Shadow Blocking (No ball)-- Coach stands behind the catcher. Catcher assumes their stance. The coach tells the catcher what pitch is thrown and where. The coach will give the catcher a few seconds to get ready. When the coach claps their hands, the catcher will assume the blocking position and hold. The coach or other players will check their form to make sure the catcher is in a good position. The drill can be varied by giving the catcher less time between pitch and location and the clap, or the catcher will go on verbal commands only.

2) Sit and Get Hit-- Coach gets on one knee from a short distance. The catcher assumes the blocking position. The coach will throw the ball in the dirt and off the chest of the catcher. The catcher gets the feeling of balls coming off their body.

3) Medium Toss-- Coach stands half-way between the mound and home plate. The catcher assumes their stance. Coach will throw balls in the dirt and the catcher will block, retrieve, and get their body in a position to throw.

4) Standard Toss-- Coach stands on the mound. The catcher assumes their stance. Coach will throw balls in the dirt and the catcher will block, retrieve, and get their body in a position to throw.

5) Up-Downs-- Lay out five balls five feet apart. The catcher will shuffle to each ball, assume the blocked position, get up and shuffle to the next ball. The object is to work on quickness down to the ball and up from the ball. Make sure the catcher's hands are moving in the correct position on the way up. The drill can be varied by having the catcher not only go down all five, but moving to the other side and returning to where they started.

6) Hands Drill-- The catcher should start in the down position with a ball placed in front of them. When the coach says go, the catcher fires their hands out to the side and away from the ball, gets to their feet quickly, rakes in the ball and gets their body in a position to throw the baseball.

7) Zone Blocking-- Acceptable activity for when practice is getting monotonous and the catchers need a change of pace. Assign three zones and points for each (5, 3, -5). The first zone should be 3 feet by 3 feet starting at the catchers feet the second zone should be 5 feet by 5 feet starting at the catchers feet, the third zone is anything outside zone two. Catcher assumes stance while the coach stands on the mound. The coach will throw balls in the dirt. The catcher should block, retrieve the balls in a zone and then get their body in a position to throw. Each catcher gets an established number of trials. Add up points and assign a winner.

8) Batting Practice-- There is no substitute for blocking live during an established period of time during batting practice. This prevents the catcher from sitting back and creating bad habits during batting practice.

9) Bullpens-- The bull pen should be utilized not only by pitchers preparing to enter the game, but also by catchers as well. The catcher should report to the bullpen in full gear and have their game face on. No balls should ever get by a catcher in the bullpen. Take pride in your abilities.

Framing Drills

1) Shadow-- Catcher starts out in their stance. Coach holds a ball in front of the catcher and moves it around the strike zone. The catcher follows the path of the baseball and frames the area. The catcher should work on body movement and catching the ball in halves.

2) One Knee Underhand Toss-- Coach gets on one knee five to ten feet from the catcher. The coach will underhand toss a ball to the catcher. The catcher will work on body movement and catching the ball in halves. The benefit of this approach is that the coach is close enough that they can be more accurate with their toss and work all areas.

3) Medium Toss-- Coach stands up and throws pitches to a catcher from 40-50 feet. This allows the catcher to track the ball from a longer distance. The catcher will still work on body movement and catching the ball in halves.

4) Catching Batting Practice and Bullpens-- This is as close to a live game situation as a catcher can experience. It is very important that a catcher not go through the motions when catching batting practice or a bullpen. This must be a highly intense environment and must be taken seriously.

Throwing Drills

1) Catcher with ball-- The catcher starts out with the ball in their glove. Coach will be in front of the catcher. The coach will instruct the catcher to use either load and throw or jump pivot. The catcher will execute the footwork and throw to a partner. Make sure to work both methods of throwing footwork.

2) One knee partner/coach toss-- Catcher at home plate. Partner or coach a few feet in front on one knee. Partner or coach will toss ball to catcher who is already in their stance. The catcher will catch the ball and execute proper throwing footwork and throw to another partner. Being on one knee and tossing the ball will allow the partner or coach to put the ball exactly where they want to work. Also, this will assist the catcher in working on both types of throwing footwork.

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