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MLB catchers' footwork (or lack of) on throws to third base with a RHB

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  • MLB catchers' footwork (or lack of) on throws to third base with a RHB

    For throws to third base with a RHB in the box, we teach catcher's to use the step-behind footwork shown in the following video (which I googled randomly). The right foot drop-steps pretty far behind the left foot--to allow the catcher to clear the batter, and align the catcher for the throw.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOa5yyY617k
    Advance to 2 min. 10 secs.

    However, I've studied video of MLB catchers' game-throws to third, and their footwork is either non-existent, or abbreviated and inconsistent. Why? Primarily, I assume, because of the speed of the game. Also, perhaps (?), because MLB catchers set up deeper so that they don't need footwork to clear the batter?

    Does step-behind footwork on throws to third apply only to lower levels of the game (HS and below)?
    Is it used, for example, in college baseball?
    __________________________________________

    Examples from MLB.com
    I entered "out stealing third" in the MLB.com video search box.
    On the first three pages, there were ten videos of MLB catchers making game throws to third with a RHB in the box. None of the ten throws showed step-behind footwork.

    "Wieters' strong throw"
    No footwork at all to clear the batter
    The batter inexplicably cooperates by leaning forward
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...55497&c_id=mlb

    "Hannigan throws out Beltran"
    Shuffle footwork instead of step-behind footwork
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...58393&c_id=mlb

    "Astros turn two"
    Sideways shuffle instead of step-behind footwork
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...71021&c_id=mlb

    "Lavarny throws out Pena"
    No footwork; batter cooperates by leaning forward
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...53381&c_id=mlb

    "Thole throws out Desmond"
    Minimal shuffle footwork (preceded by a tail-on-the-ground stance before the pitch)
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...76835&c_id=mlb

    "Ross throws out Victorino"
    Shuffle footwork (preceded by a tail-down runners-on stance)
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...76685&c_id=mlb

    "Ecarnation steals third, scores"
    Virtually no footwork (preceded by a tail-down stance)
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...12679&c_id=mlb

    "Pena throws out Choo"
    Minimal footwork (advance to 19 secs.)
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...60575&c_id=mlb

    "Perez nabs Izturis"
    No footwork
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...35273&c_id=mlb

    "Molina throws out Santana"
    Minimal step with left foot
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...60105&c_id=mlb
    Last edited by skipper5; 12-31-2012, 01:10 PM.
    Skip

  • #2
    uhoh, you started something. Comparing catching instruction to what MLB players do?:o

    I wonder if you will find a similar rule to hitting - instruction is backwards/opposite?

    "Perez nabs Izturis"
    No footwork
    Perez just pushed off with his back heel.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

    Comment


    • #3
      I do not teach my catchers to step behind on the throw to 3rd. I teach throw. Get the ball in the air. On pitches middle to middle in they will generally be able to get a heel click. Pitches on the outer 1/3 you will generally get a catch and throw.

      IMO, if you teach the step behind to "clear" a lane you will be in a bad position to throw. If you teach just throw. A catcher who is athletic (in order to catch. I assume you are athletic) you will find away to stay behind the batter. Also, most batters do not want their faces ripped off.

      JMO

      Comment


      • #4
        What does NECC teach?

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the clips Skip. Son (12u) was taught to drop step when he was younger, some of the batters in his league have been taught to open up (rhb - left foot towards third) to hamper the drop stepping catcher. So as HYP wrote he cocentrates on the throw, most of his throws are in front of the batter now. One umpire mentioned last season to him that if batters try that in HS throw threw the ear hole and the rest if the team wouldnt do that again.

          Comment


          • #6
            MLB catchers have to play every day and in 19 out of 20 times the throw is just to keep the runner honest so that he does not take a huge lead. catching MLB runners on a pick off is really rare. even yadi molina doesn't catch the guy most of the time although with him it is usually much closer then with the average MLB catcher.

            and since MLB catchers usually have at least high 80s arms that can just flip it over using the arm. why make your legs tired if they are not going to catch the guy anyway and just want to keep him honest?

            I still think kids should use normal footwork even if yadi could throw a laser beam doing a backflip and throwing behind his back.
            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dominik View Post
              MLB catchers have to play every day and in 19 out of 20 times the throw is just to keep the runner honest so that he does not take a huge lead. catching MLB runners on a pick off is really rare. even yadi molina doesn't catch the guy most of the time although with him it is usually much closer then with the average MLB catcher.

              and since MLB catchers usually have at least high 80s arms that can just flip it over using the arm. why make your legs tired if they are not going to catch the guy anyway and just want to keep him honest?

              I still think kids should use normal footwork even if yadi could throw a laser beam doing a backflip and throwing behind his back.
              I think most of us were talking about throwing to 3rd with a runner stealing. Not a back pick. On a back pick you have to get behind the the hitter because the throw has to be in foul territory.

              What is normal footwork? Your foot work will change based on pitch location.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HYP View Post
                I think most of us were talking about throwing to 3rd with a runner stealing. Not a back pick. On a back pick you have to get behind the the hitter because the throw has to be in foul territory.

                What is normal footwork? Your foot work will change based on pitch location.
                Ah ok, I thought you were talking about snap throws to the corners to keep the runner honest.

                I don't really know anything about catchers footwork but I asumed it was a normal 1-2 step like a fielder does.
                I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dominik View Post
                  MLB catchers have to play every day and in 19 out of 20 times the throw is just to keep the runner honest so that he does not take a huge lead. catching MLB runners on a pick off is really rare. ...and since MLB catchers usually have at least high 80s arms that can just flip it over using the arm. why make your legs tired if they are not going to catch the guy anyway and just want to keep him honest?
                  dominik,
                  In the OP, the 10 videos illustrate throws to third on steal attempts, which is a very important skill --not backpick attempts, which are a minor aspect of catching.
                  The OP mentions that the search words for the video were "out stealing third".
                  Skip

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                    dominik,
                    In the OP, the 10 videos illustrate throws to third on steal attempts, which is a very important skill --not backpick attempts, which are a minor aspect of catching.
                    The OP mentions that the search words for the video were "out stealing third".
                    thanks. I got that now too. as a lefty I never really came in contact with catching (although CC seemed to have had the opinion that lefties can catch too but most coaches think otherwise).
                    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by raptor View Post
                      What does NECC teach?
                      I just finished watching the throwing section of Coach Weaver's outstanding DVD. He said to throw behind the runner. The footwork instruction has the right foot sliding from the receiving stance behind the left foot and stopping the right foot instep perpendicular to 3rd base, then a simple left foot step toward third base and the throw.

                      Comment

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