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5 Keys to a Good Blocking Position for Catchers

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Written By
Xan Barksdale

Whether I’m evaluating a catcher in person, watching a Major League game, or doing a video analysis for someone, there are a few things that I’m looking for.  And I’ve outlined 5 of them in the image below:

Note: I cover blocking in more detail in my Book and DVD, but this is a good staring point for beginners.

Keys to a Good Blocking Position

#1 Mitt Is Covering “5 Hole”

A lot of catchers (especially young catchers) have a very bad habit of trying to catch balls that are thrown in the dirt with their mitt instead of blocking them with their chest protector.  The mitt should be on the ground covering the hole between the legs…this hole is referred to as the “5 Hole.”

#2 Elbows Are Tucked Into Sides

You want to make sure that your elbows are tucked into your sides, and not directly in front of your body.  This does 2 things: 1) it makes the overall width of our body wider (torso + arms on both sides) and 2) prevents balls from ricocheting off of our wrist and away from us.

#3 Chest Is Slightly Forward

A lot of young catchers over do this one and lean so far forward that it actually decreases their overall surface area to block.  We want to slightly lean forward to direct the ball into the ground, but not so much that we make ourselves “smaller.”

#4 Shoulders Are Rounded

We want to keep our shoulders rounded forward so that the ball hits us and is directed back towards home plate.  Think back to 6th grade science class…we want our upper body to be concave, not convex.

#5 Chin Is Tucked

Catchers should always keep their chin tucked into their chest so that their neck isn’t exposed.  Take my word for it, getting hit in the neck hurts…BAD!  Keep it tucked so that you don’t get hit in one of the most exposed areas on your body.

Written By
Xan Barksdale


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Yes it is true. You are supposed to do that so that you can build a base so the ball doesn't go behind you.


Dear Xan, I have been told about splaying the feet so that you can sink lower into he block and not risk injury. Is this true?

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