While receiving is the most important part of being a catcher, most catchers want to throw better. It is understandable as throwing out runners is probably the most exciting part of catching and best way of getting noticed. While improving arm strength will help with throws, improving footwork is the easiest, fastest, and best way to improve throws. Here are a few strategies to improve footwork which will improve the accuracy, power, and quickness of throws.
1. Mirror drill-Using a mirror, get into stance for runners on and go through footwork for throwing to each base. If at home, use tape on the floor for feedback or at field draw lines in the dirt. Make sure to also practice a high transfer. The mirror is great because of the immediate feedback, but this drill can be done anywhere and anytime you have a minute. There are no excuses for not doing this drill as it takes no time, needs no partner, and puts zero strain on your arm.
2. Get Stronger- Best way to get quicker feet is to strengthen your legs. Throwing from a squat is an explosive move and weak legs don’t do explosive well.
3. Take Between Inning Throws Seriously- This is the most frustrating one for me as a coach. Catchers often mess around with this throw. Whether the are showing off throwing from the knees or taking their time and not going through the proper footwork, this drives me crazy for a few reasons.
A) Scouts are watching- When I scout games, my stopwatch is out every inning to get your time. You might not get a chance in the game. This is your chance, use it. You can say you throw 1.9, but you have to prove it. The only stopwatch I trust is my own.
B) The Opponent is watching- The best way to shut down a running game is for the opposition not to run. As an opposing coach, my stopwatch is also out every inning. If you show me a good time, it is less likely that we will run. I know some could say you want to fool them. I disagree. I want the opposition to know I will throw them out. I take it personally when teams try to steal on me. The best catchers don’t throw out many because no one tries. This can really help a pitching staff as it is one less thing they have to worry about.
C) Get Better- This is the most important reason. This is a chance to improve that many catchers are ignoring. Catchers cry about not getting enough practice time. USE THE TIME YOU HAVE. I understand that seasons get long and arms get tender, but going through proper footwork at full speed does not put strain on your arm. If your arm is sore, go through the footwork at full speed, but make an easy throw or full speed footwork with no throw and a jog to the mound.
Throwing is the fun part of catching, but it is only fun when successfully throwing people out. The best way to improve it is with better footwork. Footwork is easy to work on and can dramatically improve throwing with a little focus and consistent work. Please comment if you like or dislike what I have to say. You might have a point I failed to make. Let me know what you think. Share with others if you think this post can help them.