Protecting Signs as a Catcher
As a catcher one of your most important jobs is to protect the signs you show the pitcher. You never want the opposing team to see what you are doing. When you are giving signs you want three players to be able to see them clearly. The pitcher, the shortstop and the second baseman. The shortstop and the second baseman will pass the information on to the other infielders. Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure your signals always stay protected.
Have Your Knees Pointing Towards The Middle Infielders
When you are in your catchers stance you always want your left knee facing the shortstop and your right knee facing your second baseman. Avoid swinging your knees back and forth. Doing so could prevent your own infielders from seeing the signs as well.
Use Your Catchers Mitt To Shield Your Signs
As we all know there is a third base coach that stands at third base. If you don’t shield your signs correctly he will be able to see them. The best way to protect your signs from the third base coach is to use your catchers mitt as a shield. You should have the forearm of your glove hand resting on the outside of your knee. This will block the vision of those near third base. Avoid wrapping the glove around your knee as it will impede the vision of your shortstop.
Make Sure Your Hands Are In The Right Position
When giving signs your hands should be close to your body. When your hands are close to your body your legs will help protect the signals. Your hand should be hanging loosely and very close to your body. It should be right in the crease of your hip.
Use Your Fingers Only
When your are giving signs nothing should move but your fingers. If your wrist or forearm is moving it means you are giving your signs in a very lazy fashion. So tighten it up a bit. An experienced coach will be able to look at your throwing wrist and see if you are giving away pickoffs and pitches.
Use Your Toes To Balance
The catchers stance is not always easy. It takes a lot of muscle endurance to be able to sit like that for long periods of time. By balancing on your toes your stance will be more comfortable. You want your toes follow the path of your knees. Just like your knees should be pointing towards the middle infielders, so should your toes. Your heels should never be planted flat on the ground.
When you are in your stance they should be in the air. Right under your rear end. If the heels of your feet are planted flat you will not be able to properly protect the signs nor will you be able to properly catch the ball and tag a runner out. Its the improper stance and should never be done. Stay on the balls of your feet. This makes it easier for you to jump up, catch the ball and tag a runner out.