As the quarterback of your team, you manage the game and make sure base runners aren't swiping bags. If thieves are making the base paths their own personal merry-go-round, you've got a big problem.
"If a catcher is capable of consistently throwing out base stealers, he can significantly change the way an opposing team plays," says Mike Martin, head coach of the Florida State University Seminoles.
Sure, the rocket attached to your arm helps, but it's not a necessity. Proper technique can greatly increase your ability to gun down would-be stealers. "If the pitcher delivers the ball to the catcher in between 1.3 and 1.4 seconds, then an accurate 2.1-second throw to second base will get 90 percent of the runners," Martin says.
Here Martin explains how to create momentum and shorten the distance between your feettwo main reasons why Seminole catchers have become sheriffs of the ACC base paths.
1. When the ball is just in front of home plate, gradually come out of your crouch
2. Take the ball out of your glove with your throwing hand
3. Take a two- to four-inch step toward second base with your right foot. The less arm strength you have, the larger the step should be, and vice versa
4. In a semi-crow-hop motion, step forward with your left foot
5. When throwing down to second, keep the ball up the line and chest-high
Common mistakes to avoid: Flipping the ball out of your glove // Coming out of your stance and popping your feet sideways // Throwing the ball on the bag // Bouncing the ball or throwing it high to second base // Throwing the ball to the third base side of second
Martin has his catchers perform the Foul Line Drill once a week in-season. Make sure you don't perform it the day before a game.
Foul Line Drill
Stand on either right or left field foul line, 70 feet away from partner
Begin in crouched position with ball
Using proper technique, come out of stance and throw ball to partner with 50-percent effort
Perform 4-6 reps with good technique
Martin: This gives the catcher a visual of a straight line to his target. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you can stay on path with your body, your throws will become accurate and have more velocity.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock