15 yo, only been playing ball for four years, catching for two. He's a wall behind the plate, coachable, and as a bonus, can hit.  Since he was a late-comer to baseball, he attended a few camps. He did learn quite a bit. Now that he's primarily a catcher, he'd like to do a camp that concentrates more on those position-specific skills. HS coaches aren't much good on instucting, and son needs a better throw. Florida Baseball Camp has been recommended, but perhaps y'all have other thoughts?  

Original Post

I see you are in Florida... a hotbed for current AND past players.  I'll bet you can find an ex-college/pro catcher that will work with your son one-on-one where the learning curve and progression will likely be quicker than at a camp setting.  It also affords the opportunity for refresher check-ins, homework, etc.  If the guy is local, there is a chance that he will attend an occasional game of your son's and give ongoing constructive feedback.

Meanwhile, if you aren't familiar, the "catching 101" series of youtube videos by Xan Barksdale are pretty solid, IMO.  The visual of proper execution is better than any I've seen elsewhere and instruction is succinct and straight forward and apply to all levels.

cabbagedad posted:

I see you are in Florida... a hotbed for current AND past players.  I'll bet you can find an ex-college/pro catcher that will work with your son one-on-one where the learning curve and progression will likely be quicker than at a camp setting.  It also affords the opportunity for refresher check-ins, homework, etc.  If the guy is local, there is a chance that he will attend an occasional game of your son's and give ongoing constructive feedback.

Completely agree with cabbage here. My son (2019) had "lessons" from several catching coaches over the years, starting at about eight years old. It wasn't until we found THE guy in our area that his skills took off. After training with this particular individual for a while, it was very easy to go around to the various youth tournaments and spot the kids who trained with him and, in my opinion, what you want is true "training." Not sitting in a cage, or in a group of 20, with a guy getting a lecture on things that happen automatically when trained and repeated properly. Sure, there were times where talking strategy and/or technique took place but the majority was actual work with modification, correction, and reinforcement during the process. From when my son was 10 to about 14 or 15, I'd drive him to this guy's facility every, or every other, weekend for sessions that lasted somewhere between 2.5 and 4 hours. There were typically groups of 3-5 kids and they would work receiving/blocking off a machine and live arm, popups off of a machine, and threw bags all the way around until they were (or the coach was) satisfied. My son could also talk on the phone, text, and share video with this coach and get feedback on the spot because of the relationship they built. It was a great model that I think should be replicated more but, long story short, if you can find THE guy in your area, and train regularly, I believe it facilitates the best development for the money and time. Not taking away from the catching-specific camps out there but they tend to be expensive and short term. Best of luck!

Tequila, I would *love* to find an effective coach for regular lessons. He has a great hitting coach, and one who gave lessons for blocking.  Just haven't found one that clicked for the other aspects.  We are within reasonable driving distance of Orlando & Tampa. I'm not really plugged into a network.  I lurk on a few FB groups,  but haven't found them to be useful for our needs.  Son has only played travel ball for a couple of years, and it's been a steep learning curve, to say the least. I appreciate this forum because it has good quality info,  without the drama. 

HitRunThrowCatch posted:

Tequila, I would *love* to find an effective coach for regular lessons. He has a great hitting coach, and one who gave lessons for blocking.  Just haven't found one that clicked for the other aspects.  We are within reasonable driving distance of Orlando & Tampa. I'm not really plugged into a network.  I lurk on a few FB groups,  but haven't found them to be useful for our needs.  Son has only played travel ball for a couple of years, and it's been a steep learning curve, to say the least. I appreciate this forum because it has good quality info,  without the drama. 

This is a great time to contact colleges in the area... season is just ending for most and a HC or AC may be able to refer you to a coach on staff, a player/catcher, a previous coach or player/catcher or another local guy they might suggest who may be able to provide regular lessons, at least for a period of time.  Another avenue is the local club/travel/training organizations... they may have someone on staff or someone they can refer you to.  They are usually tuned in to the local instructor circles and are more than willing to refer a paying customer.  You can also start a new thread here titled "best catching instructors in the greater xxx (Tampa/Orlando??) area" and you may get some names.

Another good avenue this time of year... check your nearest summer college program.  Many times, those players are looking for ways to make a little money during the day and play games at night.  Often, the program will be more than willing to let them use the facilities.

I know that Eric Cressey has one of his sports performance facilities in Jupiter, which is not close to you I wouldn't imagine but, though he's not a catching coach, I suspect he has a wide network of players and coaches he's worked with over the years. He has also been very responsive via email when I was considering sending my son down there for a training program and motion evaluation. Just a thought.

HitRunThrowCatch posted:

Tequila, I would *love* to find an effective coach for regular lessons. He has a great hitting coach, and one who gave lessons for blocking.  Just haven't found one that clicked for the other aspects.  We are within reasonable driving distance of Orlando & Tampa. I'm not really plugged into a network.  I lurk on a few FB groups,  but haven't found them to be useful for our needs.  Son has only played travel ball for a couple of years, and it's been a steep learning curve, to say the least. I appreciate this forum because it has good quality info,  without the drama. 

Email the coach of a local college. See if the coaches are open to giving lessons. If not, head to a college game. Catch one of the players coming in/out. See if they're willing to give lessons in the offseason. They will be - assuming you keep it discrete and in cash. UCF and USF aren't too far from you. Ask around.

Two local D1 guys helped run our winter workouts. $80 every Sunday for a few months goes a long way for most college kids. Especially those unable to work. 

Catching lessons aren't really something you need to do year round. Just train in the winter and meet to clean it up when necessary.You really don't need to click with someone. You just need to improve. There aren't a ton of different philosophies on how to get better defensively. Most guys who know what they're doing will be preaching the same material. 

PABaseball posted:
Catching lessons aren't really something you need to do year round. Just train in the winter and meet to clean it up when necessary.You really don't need to click with someone. You just need to improve. There aren't a ton of different philosophies on how to get better defensively. Most guys who know what they're doing will be preaching the same material. 

I don't disagree with you here PA but I think the trouble is in the bolded above. No, there aren't a ton of philosophies but there are a few that differ dramatically e.g. "gain ground, no step, jab step, knee down, knee up, let it get deep, stick it out front, hand in fist behind mitt, hand in seam of hip, et al., ad nauseam." I follow 12 or 13 different catching guys on twitter and the debates on a few things seem never ending. There are a lot of universally agreed upon things but if a young kid gets with a dude that doesn't know how to property evaluate the needs based on body type, athleticism, arm motion, personality, mental acuity, etc., it can be difficult to undo. My son eventually got to a point where he could identify the things he wanted to take from a session, or piece of advice from someone, and what conflicted with what worked for him he would just flush, but not all kids are able to do that or have reached a level of maturity to be expected to be able to do that. Most of us parents of catchers know it is a severely neglected position up until college or maybe beyond. Ok, off my soap box now! I'm just passionate about decent dedicated instruction for this critical position rather than just being a ball shagger.

If I had to recommend any to pay attention to, they would be: Jerry Weinstein, Tom Griffin, Ryan Sienko, Tanner Swanson, and Kevin Schnall for my short list. I'm sure I'm missing someone but these guys always have quality content and methods communicated.

Great idea about calling the colleges.  There are a few JuCo and D1 programs fairly close to us. I talked with some parents of college players this weekend, and it seems like most of the players are headed out to play summer baseball in the league that their coaches have chosen for them. Still, the assistant coaches would have some insight. I have never thought about contacting them, simply because they are probably inundated with inquiries, and I worry about the "etiquette" of such calls.

HitRunThrowCatch posted:

Great idea about calling the colleges.  There are a few JuCo and D1 programs fairly close to us. I talked with some parents of college players this weekend, and it seems like most of the players are headed out to play summer baseball in the league that their coaches have chosen for them. Still, the assistant coaches would have some insight. I have never thought about contacting them, simply because they are probably inundated with inquiries, and I worry about the "etiquette" of such calls.

It doesn't really matter much.

Hey, I have a catcher who is a sophomore in HS. He's looking to train defensively  with somebody this summer. Is there anybody on your staff who trains kids or any former/current players in the area that you would recommend? 

If that doesn't work, try talking to some batting instructors at academies. I'm sure some have trained a college catcher at some point that they could put you in contact with. Not sure if you're north or south of Orlando/Tampa, but if Brandenton isn't too far from you then IMG might be worth looking into. 

Even if you can't find a coach willing to train- a DM on Twitter/Instagram to a college player or minor leaguer can go a long way. Especially so when you consider what some of those guys are making. Son might be able to help you out here. 

Hey I've been to some games and I'm a big fan. How much do you charge per lesson? I want  to work on ________. And send some video. 

Went to a field in October. One of the short season guys was giving a pitching lesson to a high schooler. 70 bucks a lesson can mean a lot to a guy who lives with 11 teammates in a 3 bedroom apartment. 

PABASEBALL :  Especially so when you consider what some of those guys are making.

Isn't that the truth. Very little. I'm north of Orlando/Tampa, but I don't mind driving there, or Stetson, etc. if it's a great coach. One thing I've learned is that someone can be a great player, but still not know how to impart knowledge to the student.

My son makes decent money as a college softball coach but still does lessons in baseball since he played D1.  Very few college guys are turning down cash.  I don't think it is inappropriate to email or call and ask for their recommendations.  Read their profiles and see if any of the coaches played catcher in college or pros.  That would be your best source. 

 Keep an eye out because many will do pitching/catching camps especially in the fall/winter.  They bring in these two to help each other and usually have good trainers.

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