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Mask on? Mask off?

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  • Mask on? Mask off?

    Each year I get at least 2-3 reports from around the country related to catchers being hurt during tag plays at the plate when they removed their mask. Broken noses, losed teeth, poked eyes, etc.

    So each spring when we have many new coaches entering the coaching ranks I like to put this reminder out.

    On a tag play at the plate LEAVE THE MASK ON!

    Why?? Simple, no good reason to take it off. The most common reason I am given is that the catcher can see the throw from the infielder better. Well the catcher had no trouble seeing the 50mph pitch from 45 feet away, I sure he can see a throw from 60+ feet away traveling most likely slower then that.

    No reason to surrender the protection, Keep the Mask on!

    The only time a catcher should take the mask off is on the pop fly. I am even seeing that with the advances in mask design some catchers don't even need to take it off then either
    Coach Weaver
    Facebook: New England Catching Camp
    Phil 4:13

  • #2
    Agree with you 100% on that.

    I had taught my son from the time he started catching in coach pitch to get the mask off as soon as contact was made so he could see the ball better.

    I changed that opinion after a play last season...

    Batter tapped the ball straight down and it died about 6 inches on front of the plate. My son flipped off the mask and went after the ball. As he bent down, the batter - who for whatever reason was still standing in the batter's box in his follow through decides to swing his bat backwards - thunk - right into my son's nose. I don't know how it managed to not end up broken. It was still a bloody mess though. ( I still kid him that if he had circled around the ball instead of going straight at it, the batter probably would have missed his face.)

    From that day on he rarely takes the mask off. I figure trading a little visibility for protecting his face is probably a good idea.


    • #3
      plus why waste time taking the mask off

      Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"


      • #4
        Excellent point, Coach Dave.

        If you're a real catcher, your mask is no more foreign to your face than my glasses are to mine. It's just not a distraction.

        And, as a catcher, I liked the feeling of being fully armored and invulnerable to a silly sliding runner. With the mask, you can get your nose and the glove right down on top of a sliding runner (rather than groping down for him while trying to keep your face out of harm's way).

        But, kids toss the mask off for the same reason they do a lot of things - because it makes them look like major league catchers. Sorta . . .
        sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.


        • #5

          Excellent advise. This is really hard to impart to my high school kids, but I keep trying anyway.
          Owner of Driveline Baseball - Seattle, WA


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