Over the past few days I’ve seen a catching video pop up on my Facebook feed a lot.
My guess is that you’ve probably seen it too.
If you haven’t, you can watch it right here…
It’s probably gone viral because it’s a cool looking drill. However, that doesn’t always mean that it’s a good drill!
If you do drills like this you need to stop right now!
This drill reinforces the wrong footwork, and builds poor muscle memory for the catcher because he’s practicing a counterproductive movement.
All catching coaches will agree that when we throw to second base our right foot must land before our left foot…it doesn’t matter if they teach the Jab Step, Replacement Method, or even the Pivot (all explained in The Catching-101 DVD).
The reason for this is because we generate power from our lower half when we “drive” off of our backside (aka back foot, back leg). This is no different for catchers than it is for any other player. Here’s a video of Felix Hernandez courtesy of Rob Friedman…
Notice how his back foot is planted and he’s generating power by driving off of the rubber.
For a catcher to generate maximum velocity he needs to drive/push off of his back foot…just like everyone else.
However, in this drill the catcher is simply jumping or hopping and both of his feet land on the ground at the same time.
This immediately halts all forward momentum…if that sounds like a bad thing it’s because it is!
Watch the video again and notice that he has no “drive” off of his backside…
When we’re practicing our footwork it’s very important that we don’t “hop” to get into a power position so that we can generate power from our backside.
Drills like this where the player hops into a “proper throwing position” can often do more harm than good if we don’t pay close attention to the details.
Whether you’re a coach, a dad, or a catcher please make sure that every time you practice your footwork to second base you don’t kill your momentum by allowing both feet to land at the same time.
It all happens very quickly and sometimes it’s hard to detect without using a high speed video camera, but it’s extremely important that your right foot lands first!
Want more information about proper throwing mechanics to second base? I exhaustively cover it in the Catching-101 DVD.