Catching: Proper Footwork Starts with the Feet

Nearly every catching instructor you speak to, and every published book and article on catching, will point out that footwork is the key to success for a backstop.

However, most of these sources either don’t elaborate on how your feet should be, or they offer information that does more harm than good.

baseball_catcherFor example, I remember being taught to get my weight forward, on the balls of my feet, because that is a “strong athletic position”. Unfortunately, with your weight forward you can naturally move only one way: forward. If you need to block a ball to either side, or need to throw a runner out, you will have to waste time shifting your weight back before doing anything else.

That’s not to say, however, that your weight should be back on your heels (though, you’re probably better off back there than forward). Instead, your weight in the catcher’s stance — both with and without runners on — should be evenly distributed on your feet. A better way to say this may be that your weight should be ON TOP of your feet.

Ideally, your toes should be pointing up the the foul lines, positioned outside your knees, with the outside edges of your feet slightly off the ground, and the majority of your weight resting on top of your instep. While at first it may feel strange to have your weight on your insteps, you should otherwise feel balanced. Set this way, you will be an ideal position to move in any direction necessary, with quickness and control.

Joe Janish has been coaching baseball for 20+ years, and playing for 30+. He was a D-1 ABCA All-American catcher in 1992, when he finished in the top 15 in the nation in hitting. He also coached at the D-1 level, and currently provides private instruction to serious baseball players in the NY/NJ/PA area.
1 Comment
  1. adrian ojeda April 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    im 17 and starting to try to be a catcher. i have a pretty good arm, but i need tips on footwork in the backstop. any comments? :)

    Reply

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