An area that is commonly overlooked when teaching young catchers is sign giving. It is just assumed that a player will be able to flash a few fingers and be on his way. This couldn't be further from the truth. I have
seen many catchers that are not proficient at sign giving. A small problem such as this can lead to game time problems.
A catcher should give slow, controlled finger movements. There is no need to rush. The pitcher should be able to see the signs easily and in a relaxed manner. The catchers hand should be placed back against the cup. The fingers should be pointing down. If the fingers are at an angle, it will be hard to see from 60 feet 6 inches. The last thing you want to have happen is for a catcher to call a change-up and have the pitcher get confused and throw a slider.
Be sure the fingers are not placed too low. The hand should not be so low that the on-deck hitter or individuals behind the catcher can see the signs. Another area of concern is to close off both knees. The knees should be facing toward the pitcher. If the knees are open, the coaches in the coaching box may be able to see your signs and relay them to the hitter. There is nothing wrong with stealing signs if the catcher is doing a poor job. Close off the knees and make the hitters beat you the hard way. Also, have as little hand movement as possible. Don't give away location of pitches with loud arm and hand movements. The key to sign giving is to be slow, deliberate, and subtle.
1) Mirror Drill
Catcher gives signs in front of a mirror. The catcher will be able to see what the pitcher sees. This gives the
catcher an idea of how easy or difficult they are to read.
2) Practice Setting
When catchers are working on other skills, have them go through the entire sequence of events, starting with sign giving. This gives the coach or partner an opportunity to witness and critique any problems.