Catcher - Umpire Relationship
Some notes which work for me in making catchers understand the Catcher-Umpire relationship throughout the game.
1. The Catcher needs an umpire...without one there is no game. Mr Umpire is going to be there no matter what.
2. Good honest conversations...as the game goes on it is important that the lines of communication are open.
3. Don't try to trick or embarrass an umpire...give him the respect he deserves as an official of the game.
4. If there are questions on pitch locations, ask the Umpire if it is your method of receiving the ball that is causing the concern. Your Framing, Swaying or Positioning may be affecting his view.
5. Receiving pitches on the Lower-Inside & Lower-Outside are the most difficult. Ask the Umpire if your technique is correct. The Catcher may have to work on "Sticking the Pitch" & "Raking the Pitch".
6. Is the catcher trying to make "a ball" "a strike" too much, honesty in where the pitch is located.
7. When a Catcher is "Vocal" and knows the Defense an umpire knows he will deal with the "Coach on the Field", "The Catcher". Very seldom will I as a catching coach have to make a trip to the catcher in a game. If I have to talk with him it will be between innings and not during a game.
8. Umpires are human and make mistakes, so he owes you one, and he knows it!
9. A good Blocker of the ball is very important...protect Mr. Umpire and he will reward you.
10. If a catcher uses the Hook Method of retrieving on pass balls, this saves the catcher from running into the umpire while attempting to retrieve the ball.
11. Proper Pop-Up Method...again keeping the catcher away from bumping into the Umpire while picking up the flight of the ball. There are many drills out there to work on proper Funnelling, Framing, Swaying, Sticking & Raking the Pitch, Pass Ball Technique, and Pop-Up Technique. Good Blocking Technique - knowing how to "Round Out" "Glove Then Knees Technique " & Quickness Drills. One that comes to mind is Bob Morgan at Indiana (excellent tape on some of these techniques). But, all in all, a Catcher again is the "Coach on the Field" and he must earn his respect from Mr Umpire - by knowing his position - a Catcher.
Finally, anytime I hear someone call the catching gear "Tools of Ignorance" will get my undivided attention. Catchers are NOT STUPID and the equipment they wear are the "Tools of Excellence". Catching is the most demanding and most important position on the field and the catcher should be given much attention in preseason and in practices, treating them as number one. Especially when it comes to batting practice - the catcher should be the first one, Number One. It is the Coach who is Stupid for not coaching number one - The Catcher.
Submitted by: Tom Dufour, Catching Coach
Counting Down to June 6, 2014