Do you take the time beforehand to create plan for your day’s throwing? Is each throw mindful, purposeful, or are you going through the motions? Here are a few ideas to make your catch play even better.
- Vary Your Distances With Your Breaking Ball Catch
60 feet, 6 inches is an entirely arbitrary number. The distance between the rubber between the plate could have ended up completely different. I think there’s tremendous value in working on throwing your breaking ball both at a shorter distance and longer. If you can command it well at varying lengths it’s going to make it easier to command at 60’6″.
Additionally, there’s value in throwing it shorter to work on really getting out front and feeling it spin off your fingers. On the other hand, if you go and try and throw your breaking balls from 70 you’re going to find you also really have to get out over your front side and get through it in order to shape it to that distance.
2. Mix in “drills” throughout your long toss.
I often see pitchers do drill work before and after their catch play and long toss. Why not mix in different drills all through out to get more reps working on the things you need to, from a movement and feel perspective.
3. Mix in different footwork with your long toss.
Building off the last point, apply the same concept to further distance and high intent work. Think backpedals, drop steps, different shuffles, etc.
4. Learn how to throw like a catcher.
This one might seem like a weird one, and I don’t do it that often but have been more lately. The reason why is most throwers aren’t able to throw nearly as hard off the mound as a pulldown. Why? Simple really, they can’t run into it and build momentum.
So, why not teach yourself to throw from an even more static position? The best catchers are able to fire it ‘from inside a phone booth’. If you can figure out how to let it eat out of the crouch and dropping to a knee, getting to utilize your delivery will feel like a godsend.
5. WORK ON YOUR DELIVERY EVEN AT LOW INTENT.
This one drives me nuts (hence the all caps). We only get so many reps each week with throwing. Once you finish your plyo work and start throwing with a partner: come set, lift your leg just how you normally would. Every throw you’re either getting better or worse.