How to Coach Baseball: Throwing & Catching
Learn how to teach Youth League Baseball players various throwing and catching techniques.
Male 1: Important note: Before you view each drill, take into consideration that the skill and the fundamental development of each player will vary. We will demonstrate both correct and incorrect examples of drills to show common mistakes that are made by many players. And remember, repetition equals skill.
Coach: The first step in this sequence is called “The Window”. As you can see, Ryan is making a window with his hands. As Ryan accepts the ball from his partner, he tries to focus on catching the ball with two hands and bringing the ball into his body, close to his throwing side, which is his right side. As he is bringing the ball into his right side, he is feeling for the seams right now with this throwing hand.
As you can see, Ryan’s forefinger and middle finger across the horse shoe of the ball. And if he turns to the side, right. You can see that there is a little bit of a window, a little bit of a space between the ball in his hand, so that Ryan does not actually what we call “choke the ball” and he can get a good velocity on his throw.
The next step would be for Ryan to bring his thumb to his thigh and get into a throwing position. Right now, Ryan is in the throwing position. Ryan’s throwing position has the ball facing backward.
A lot of times, players tend to have a throwing position like this, which is wrong. If you see a player with a throwing position having the ball face his head, it is a wrong position because then there will be a short on the ball.
What we want to do is we want to have a full range of motion, having the ball behind. As he follows through, he turns his wrist, cocks it back, so he can get good rotation on the ball.
Male 2: Should the front arm be pointed in the direction that you are throwing the ball. Should it be slightly bent like this? How would you teach it for someone who is not going to correct it?
Coach: Well, this is a standing-up position. Ryan would basically have his glove on and what I like to tell my players is point your glove to where you are going to be throwing. Point to your target. So, Ryan right now is pointing to his target.
If Ryan did not know where to point and he was throwing the ball maybe wide right or little wide left, it will always start with this arm. This arm would be out here, and now as you can see, his shoulders are open, but there will be nowhere else for the ball to go but out. Now, if we do it correctly, Ryan would point to his target.
Now, everything is in line with his target. The next thing to do would be to tuck your glove, which a lot of people do not do. Tucking your glove is to pull down, for you to get a little bit of power, pulling down and going through the ball.
It is also a reminder of, “Hey, I got to keep my arm in instead of flying out. I like to tuck my glove in, keep everything inside and come straight to the ball. Keep everything moving forward to the target”.
Male 2: Should a ball be above his shoulder or even with the shoulder?
Coach: The ball should be never too far above his shoulder. It should be above his elbow area. It should be a slight bend at the elbow. Now, you have to understand, it is kind of difficult for Ryan to get into that position because he is sitting down. And that is why this drill is mainly focused on proper grip and rotation. So, he is doing the best he can but he would like to get the ball slightly above his shoulder.
A lot of times, what I like to say is, for my players. If the ball is in my left hand, I would like to get in position where I can tell time. If I have a watch on either hand, I would be able to tell time with both hands.
Now, if he could tell time on his right hand and he would be able to tell time on his left hand, his arms are slightly bent and the ball is still behind him. His ball is slightly above his shoulder. So, that is a little tool I try to use with my players, if I can tell time on both arms.
Male 2: Another point coach, he should be looking at his, what? The follow-through? What about the follow-through, coach?
Coach: Follow-through has a lot of problems with players, what we call a “short arm”. If Ryan were to throw the ball, please, Ryan. Go through the motion and stop right there.
A lot of players would stop their arm, which does a lot of damage to the back shoulder muscles, or what we call the “decelerating muscles”. That can damage a young arm and in the later years, could do a lot to the velocity of your arm with damaged muscles. We like to have his arm decelerate naturally and that is the proper follow-through.
Now, instead of Ryan stopping his arm in front of his face, he wants to release the ball, release the ball and slow down his arm by stopping or following through on his opposite knee, the outside of his opposite knee.
If you are a right-handed thrower, his opposite knee would be his left knee. Go ahead, Ryan. Exactly, looking at his target. If he was a left-handed thrower, his opposite knee would be his right knee.
Catch, thumbs to your thigh, knuckles is, freeze. See if you could tell time on your back hand, your back hand or your front hand. He has his hit. His ball is in perfect position.
How to Coach Baseball: Throwing & Catching
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