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Viral Catching Video Teaches Wrong Mechanics

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Written By
Xan Barksdale

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…

drill

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!

Here’s why…

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

king-felix-lower-half

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…

drill

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.

Written By
Xan Barksdale

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Doug

In regards to Don Ervin's rant on muscle memory, the term may not be completely accurate, but there is science behind it. A book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle covers the science of "muscle memory" very well.

Don Ervin

You have commented about muscle memory, The word muscle memory is and has been one of my pet peeves for several years, Let's get right down the technical capabilities of muscles think about it, how can a body mass such as muscles or even a pillow stuffing memorize something? {NO WAY} this is a misnomer, which reminds me of those pillow sales people on T.V. saying their pillow contents have memory in them, what those pillows have in them are contents containing rebounding, not memory particles. one's brain is one's receiving,message and command center which receives and sends all messages to all areas of one's body, people are led to believe non- true isms and consequently make comments based on uneducated here say and opinion, based on other peoples uneducated here say and opinion instead of becoming interested enough to learn about what they are talking about, knowledge is the avenue to success but wrong uneducated knowledge is the main reason why our youngsters are getting the wrong messages about how to just basically play their game. An acquaintance of mine hit the nail right on the head when he commented that,{HEY,} isn't being a keen student of our subject at hand the first and most important prerequisite to correctly bring the right messages to our students? Keep those excellent informative catching and other baseball goodies coming. Don Ervin dfervin32@yahoo.com

Tim

I agree if not corrected it's counter productive as is all repetitive drills. I like that it gets receiving hand to move towards throwing hand instead of throwing hand reaching for the glove. You're correct about the feet. Again corrections needed. But I like repetitive explosive drills. I feel that builds endurance and fast twitch muscle fibers. All very necessary in a competent catcher. But you are correct. People watch it like juggling. It's not being executed properly, but looks effective

Brandon

I noticed the same thing. Glad my eyes are seeing what they learned from your DVD, among other places.

Justin Clapsaddle

Funny...my son who is 13 said...his footwork is all wrong and he's not gaining any ground. You are teaching him well Coach!

James

Very good observation. You are correct about the video. This is the reason why so many amateur ball players never make it. BAD coaching. Thanks for posting.

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