4 Coaching Concerns for Catchers
Written on October 11, 2022 at 8:55 am, by Eric Cressey
At this time’s visitor submit comes from Cressey Sports activities Efficiency – Florida coach Dan Rosen.
In a latest episode on the Elite Baseball Improvement Podcast, Eric spoke with Coach Jerry Weinstein about his prolonged teaching profession and the teachings he has discovered all through that point. On prime of being a profitable coach on the collegiate, skilled, and Olympic stage, Jerry can be well-known for his work that he has executed with catchers. Within the podcast, he mentioned the significance of catchers being defensive minded, being able to get themselves into and out of positions behind the plate, and extra. In right now’s article, I purpose to deal with these qualities and others that may assist catchers grow to be extra profitable.
Coaching Consideration #1: Wholesome Ft
Foot well being could be its personal weblog, however I particularly need to cowl huge toe extensibility and sustaining the flexibility to each pronate and supinate the foot.
Having an ample quantity of massive toe dorsiflexion (roughly 60-70 levels) is necessary for quite a lot of causes together with plantar fascia well being, Achilles tendon well being, the flexibility to finish a gait cycle (a step). With out this mobility, compensations might come up up the chain. Earlier than each pitch, catchers give their alerts in a stance that requires them to entry their huge toe extensibility. In a 9 inning recreation, one group will throw roughly 150 pitches; multiply that throughout an entire season and you’ve got a catcher who has spent a substantial period of time in huge toe dorsiflexion. With out an ample quantity, what can find yourself taking place is catchers might roll onto the opposite 4 toes for help, inflicting the large toe to not do its job on this stance. Methods through which we are able to prepare huge toe ROM embrace isolating the toe itself by means of toe CARs/toe yoga, performing spring ankle units whereas guaranteeing the large toe is the primary weight bearing toe, spending time within the fitness center barefoot, and changing into extra conscious of what our huge toe is doing in workouts that might usually power it into extension corresponding to in hops, pogos, and in workouts that make the most of staggered or cut up stance positions. Dr. James Spencer additionally outlined a couple of good workouts in a earlier article right here: Large Toe, Large Issues.
Though catchers aren’t strolling a lot whereas they catch, they do transfer all through phases of gait. The sign stance we simply mentioned would mirror the late section of gait, because the toes are the final level of contact with the bottom. The later section of gait is related to propulsion, which can be necessary for catchers as they arrive out of their stance to maneuver their physique weight towards a base for a throw. After the pitch calling stance comes the first stance. Historically this could appear like the image beneath.
Some catchers, nonetheless, discover dropping one knee down is a extra comfy and extra environment friendly solution to obtain the pitch.
Within the first image, we are able to see heavy pronation and eversion (toes rolling inwards) of each toes. Catchers usually must shift or sway their body weight from one foot to the opposite of their stance, which is why entry to pronation can be necessary. It’s value noting, nonetheless, that the athlete wants the flexibility to entry supination to create a extra inflexible basis for power manufacturing. If the athlete is continually in pronation (because the catcher is within the first image), he’ll be caught in “deceleration mode.” Within the second image, we see the left foot that’s extra biased in the direction of supination.
One technique I prefer to make use of on this regard is to bias the assorted phases of gait with totally different workouts in a coaching program.. For instance, you possibly can modify a split-squat to coach every of them. Elevate the entrance foot to bias early supination, preserve the shin over the mid-foot all through the motion to bias pronation, or elevate the again foot and/or float the entrance heel to emphasise the re-supination within the later section of gait.
The place you place the load loading implement can even have an effect on which section is being biased on the working foot; contralateral (reverse facet) holds emphasize pronation and ipsilateral (similar facet) holds emphasize extra supination. Decide what the athlete wants after which place/load them accordingly.
Coaching Consideration #2 – Hip Mobility
It’s necessary to evaluate hip vary of movement in all three planes to find out the place an athlete could also be restricted. Hip flexion range-of-motion is especially necessary, as a catcher actually spends numerous time ready of deep hip flexion. If this movement is missing, a catcher might discover compensatory movement at a joint above (the lumbar backbone) or beneath (the knee).
Knee well being is one other necessary consideration for catchers, as they spend simply as a lot time in deep knee flexion as they do in toe dorsiflexion and hip flexion. With respect to knee well being, it’s my perception that ample leg energy, correct foot mechanics, and entry to a ample quantity of usable hip mobility will put the knee in a greater place to be sturdy all year long (offered there aren’t any contact or traumatic accidents).
To be an efficient catcher, one should have ample hip mobility to “discover” in a small window. Some catchers will depend on extra inside rotation methods, whereas others will depend on extra exterior rotation methods to maneuver behind the plate. Due to this fact, it’s necessary for a energy and conditioning coach and athlete to debate what particular limitations come up when the catcher is making an attempt to play their place.
It’s also value noting that with the period of time catchers spend in a squat or in awkward positions, bony variations of the top of the femur (ball) or acetabular rim (socket) might develop, resulting in a lack of hip ROM. Accessible hip mobility will assist catchers to play their place successfully by permitting them to work within the frontal airplane in order to shift their weight in try to obtain or block a ball. One motion that trains this high quality is the Half-Kneeling Adductor Dip.
It can even be necessary to have the flexibility to internally rotate one hip whereas the opposite hip externally rotates. We will see this occurring in each photos above. This means could be skilled utilizing each the always-popular seated 90/90 ER/IR hip switches in addition to a brand new favourite of thoughts, the Cable Assisted Lateral Cross Join.
Lastly, catchers ought to have the flexibility to return out of the hips of their stance by means of hip extension. One drugs ball motion particularly that we like to make use of on this entrance is the split-stance stand-up stomp:
Coaching Consideration #3 – Acceleration
Acceleration is the flexibility to realize pace as quick as attainable, and athletes want it to beat a static place (as in catching). Catchers naturally undertake a decrease heart of mass as a result of stances they discover themselves in. Being able to speed up will help them within the means to get out of their stance and get their physique weight transferring both in the direction of the bottom they’re throwing to or to discipline a ball.
Coaching acceleration for this inhabitants could be executed equally to that of different athletes. This can embrace issues like med ball throws, sled pushes, chain sprints, jumps for distance, and lifts that emphasize horizontal power manufacturing. To make acceleration coaching barely extra particular for catchers, present them with the flexibility to rotate their physique as they speed up or begin their sprints in positions that require them to beat a decrease heart of mass; examples could be half-kneeling and push-up positions.
Coaching Consideration #4 – Arm Care
Whereas the depth of each throw doesn’t match that of a pitcher, catchers do rack up a considerable throw complete all through a season. Reps are reps. Catchers want simply as a lot concentrate on their arm care coaching as pitchers do. One factor to notice with catcher throwing mechanics is that the arm motion is often shorter, and so they might not be capable of use as a lot of their decrease half as a result of lack of momentum they’ve going ahead when making throws. That is intently associated to the short transition time they should have with their arms. Due to this shorter deceleration path (and, in flip, much less help from the decrease half), it stands to cause that catchers might want to have further energy within the higher extremity decelerators than you’d count on.
Footwork can be necessary to contemplate when occupied with arm care. If a catcher can’t correctly change their toes and get momentum going in the direction of their goal in an environment friendly method, it’s going to require the shoulder and elbow to work tougher to get layback, align the discharge level with the goal, and acquire velocity on the throw.
There’s a lot that goes into being an excellent catcher, however as with all athlete, availability is the very best means. Preserving catchers wholesome is the secret for long-term success at this place. Foot well being, hip mobility, acceleration, and arm care are 4 coaching concerns that – mixed with fixed communication between the catcher and coach – will help the athlete really feel good and carry out nicely all year long and a profession. I extremely suggest you go take heed to the episode of the Elite Baseball Improvement Podcast with Eric and Coach Weinstein if you happen to haven’t already:
In regards to the Writer
Dan Rosen serves as a Energy and Conditioning Coach. Dan graduated from the College of Maryland with a B.S. in Kinesiology. He then accomplished his internship with CSP-MA within the Spring of 2021. Dan additionally accomplished an internship with Elon College Sports activities Efficiency and a graduate fellowship at Merrimack School, the place he earned his Grasp’s diploma in Train and Sport Science. As a graduate fellow, Dan served because the energy and conditioning coach for the Baseball, Area Hockey, and Swim groups whereas aiding with Soccer and Males’s Ice Hockey. After graduate faculty, Dan served because the Energy and Conditioning Coach for the Brewster Whitecaps within the Cape Cod Collegiate Summer season Baseball League. He’s additionally Precision Diet licensed.
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