Presented by Amber Conner, Camp Director
Nike Softball Camp The Fields at Huber Ranch
Softball Tip: 3 Drills to Help Catchers Improve Blocking
One of the most grueling positions in sports is the catcher. Softball catchers play a vital role in the overall success of the team. Not only do catchers need to have an advanced understanding of the game, but they are tasked with an extraordinarily challenging assignment during every game: to block balls thrown in the dirt. To be a great catcher, it takes courage and lots of practice. Join Nike Softball Camps this summer to enhance your skills behind the plate.
These 3 drills are a competitive, but fun way to help improve your game behind home:
- Catch, Block, Fake Drill- The coach or teammate will be about 30 ft. away from home plate with the catcher down in their normal catching position. The coach will throw to the catcher, mixing up strikes with balls in the dirt. This ensures that the athlete will react purely based on what they’re seeing instead of focusing on a pattern. To keep the catcher on their toes, the coach may want to add in a fake throw every once in a while, to make sure the catcher has good balance when the pitch is being thrown.
- Shadow Blocking Drill- For this drill, no ball is required. Instead, the catcher will get into their normal catching position with the coach standing behind them. The coach will tell the catcher the type of pitch being thrown and where (hypothetically) and will give the catcher a few seconds to get ready. The coach can then either clap or give a verbal signal for the catcher to get into a blocking position, according to the pitch being thrown. Once in a blocking position, the catcher should hold that pose as the coach checks their form. You can also make this drill more challenging by giving the athlete less time to set up and get in a blocking position.
- Drop, Block and Rise Drill- For this drill, the coach will line up 6-10 softballs about a foot apart from each other. The catcher will then crouch down facing the line of softballs. At each ball, the catcher will drop down into their blocking position, focused on keeping the glove low to simulate catching a low pitch, and then continue to the next ball.
One important thing to focus on when doing these drills is having proper technique. Once the technique is mastered, then you can begin to do the same drills at game speed. Catching is one of the toughest things to do in sports, and these drills will help you feel more confident with your skills behind the plate. Check out more softball tips and get ready for next season at Nike Softball Camps!