I was talking with a 17u coach the other day and he was adamant that ALL of his catchers are pitchers. He was very clear that he lets them rest, pitch, rest then later on in the tournament he uses them as catchers. He said it makes the most sense because pitchers and catchers both need incredible strength, and while the throwing mechanics are different for each the strength required to make the throw is the same, and not similar to OF or the rest of the IF. Also, it makes a better catcher if he understands fully how to pitch.
Now I have read on here multiple times that it is NOT good to have a player be both catcher and pitcher, it over uses the arm and will shorten the shelf life of both a catcher and a pitcher.
Anyone have strong feelings on this one way or the other?
I have never heard of a coach being ADAMANT that all his catchers be pitchers and his reason that "both need incredible strength" is certainly not very compelling when compared to all the documented reasons against. I would quickly dismiss this POV. This may fall under the heading of - if you want to find someone to rationalize your actions, search long enough and you'll find it.
You can search on this site and find many more posts on the subject. The point about the value of catcher throw-backs to the pitcher can certainly be argued but I would not put that high on the argument list anyway. C's and SS's have the most high-effort throws besides P's and catchers are definitely in the most taxing position overall.
Primary reasons against...
Number of high stress throws
Lower half fatigue
Piling on to pitch count
Exposing your pitchers' bodies to a beating
It's great in theory that he says he gives proper rest but think about how impossible that is in practice. A catcher throws hard during infield drills and catcher drills throughout the week as well as catching bullpens. A pitcher throws bullpens during the week and then, if he's any good, usually throws up to his limit in games. Where, exactly, do you fit in that appropriate rest from this double-duty? It's not just about game management. It's not just about long weekend tourneys. HS players are throwing in drills every day. Unless they are on shut-down, these are high-effort throws. When they are on shut-down, it limits the effectiveness of the overall team practice.
Many HS coaches don't allow both. Some do but are very strategic and cautious. Some do it blindly with only the team's immediate success in mind. You usually see the kids with the strongest arms at P, SS and C. These are the positions that require the most arm strength. C and SS require good athleticism. Some teams are limited in athletic kids with good arms and, thus, some coaches feel pressure to use them in the P/C and P/SS combo. That is partially why you see a few show up on the All-American list.
We (our HS program) have done it in spots but try to avoid. When we do, we try to limit it to short-stint back-up duties for each and limit practice reps and bullpens far more than normal for that player. You certainly can't run a team if you try to do that with every pitcher and catcher.
If I may ask... what is the relevance of the 17u coach to your 12y.o. son?