The ladies behind the plate are amazing. I often marvel at the skill set required to catch.
When I think of what it takes to be a great softball catcher, I think of the attributes/skills it takes to play that position. Here are just a few of assets that come to mind when I think about softball catchers.
I hadn’t really thought about crazy, but over on CompetitiveFastPitch.com there is an article on catchers and how they may be just a little bit crazy.
I’ve often wondered what it takes to be a girls fastpitch catcher. You really have to be a little crazy…right?
Think about it, fastpitch catchers don’t have it easy in softball. Not only do softballs fly at them at an impressive speed, but this is while they are maintaining an uncomfortable squat position and carrying extra pounds under the weight of their gear. It amazes me how tough catchers are, wearing all that gear in the heat.
I get hot and uncomfortable just sitting and watching, trying to stay cool. These girls must be crazy?
It’s time to appreciate the women on the field and the qualities they must possess in order to win. The Pitcher/Cather relationship is the lynch-pin of this game. There is usually 43 feet of distance between the two. The fastpitch softball pitcher is known for power and so respect must be paid to the catcher who not only has to keep her eye on the ball but also balance, listen to the coach, the umpire and all the while having a bat swung just inches from her nose.
Oh, did I mention you had to do all of that with one hand behind your back? Well these ladies pull it off. I think you’d have to be a little crazy to do this (but don’t worry girls, we mean ‘crazy’ in a good way!)
There is also extra pressure on the catcher as they are relied upon to turn a lot of balls into strikes. The catcher doesn’t often get a lot of credit for strikes, but they can influence calls by the ump by framing properly.
Let’s not forget about how catchers uses their bodies as a brick wall on less than perfect pitches. A good blocking catcher can save a lot of runs.
These ladies also need strong arms, a quick mind, and quick reflexes to make those accurate throws to any base when needed.
These are some of the reasons why competitive softball catchers often get the nick name of ‘coach’ on the field, by their teammates. There are so many things they need to be aware of, the count, the number of outs, where base runners are, who has the speed to steal, who are the big hitters to help pitch around, where the batter is in the order.
I have mad respect for fastptich softball catchers, they are a special breed. It’s a unique roles that involves physical activity, metal agility and leadership.
Now with all that said, here are a few tips to help make that catcher the very best she can be:
- Talk More: Be verbal and let the other girls know what is going on at all time. Remember, they can’t see as much as you.
- Manage: Reassure your pitcher – if she’s uptight, there’s always time for a quick pep talk.
- Keep The Pace: Pitchers can get carried away with the need for speed. Try and slow her down to a controlled pace.
- Read: This is in regard to the batters. The catcher is the closest to these and you can see her strengths and weaknesses – use these to your advantage.
- Attitude: You’ve got to have it!! There are going to be opponents and haters on the other side of that fence. You’ll be able to hear them but don’t let them try and talk you down. You need to have mental strength too!
Hats off to all you ‘crazy’ softball catchers, you are the best!
Well, I don’t know if softball catchers are crazy, but I do believe it takes a different mindset to play the position. I have a great deal of respect for softball catchers and love watching them do their thing!