baserunners advance on the ball in the dirt because it kicks too far away from the catcher. it doesnt matter how you block if you stop a runner from 3rd from scoring -- bottom line is results. however, there is a way -- that is against the norm that will allow catchers to control the ball in the dirt and stop the ball from kicking out.
i know there will be a lot of feedback on what i am about to say, so before i do, here is the history of it. In spring training in 2002 with the yankees, our catching instuctor had us get to our normal blocking stance, then instead of being upright and curling in our shoulders, he had us stick our chest and stomach out. from their our glove was positioned against the cup with both fore arms buried deep inside the slot where your hips and legs connect. automatically, from a front veiw, the forearms disappear and all that is seen is the chest protector. next, we leaned over so our chest was completely horizontal to the ground (i see the look on all of your faces - bear with me). we leaned over until we hit a breaking point with our body - just before your weight would cause you to fall over on your mask. from there he threw balls in the dirt at us- being at a standstill. the ball stopped directly underneath us every time. then we were told to imagine dribbling a basketball, and how to stop a bouncing ball by forcing it to the ground. next ball thrown we took our chest, and at impact force it straight down. and again the ball was forced to the point directly under our body.

here is the part where all of you can chime in on -- because it makes no sense. we got into our position again but he then stood at an angle coming from 3rd base. now, if a ball is moving in a straight line, to block it you have to have your body in a straight line to meet it head on--- right? ..... nope, wrong....

balls were thrown at that angle and low and behold the ball stuck under your body every time. when a slider or change up comes in at an angle, when it hits the ground, the ball will change paths and come in a straight line. this is why blocking sliders or curve balls causes the ball to kick to the sides. now instead of sliding to the right or left, with the body turned in with the outside shoulder turned in, we would come forward (still squared up to the pitcher) but end up on the side of the plate. this cuts down the distance that the ball will travel and hit you once it hits the dirt.

i can tell you this, once i got a feel for it, i started to attack and control balls in the dirt....... and i didnt take a ball in the forearms again (thats 4 years of playing without getting hit their)

have fun with this one.. i am waiting for lots of feedback on this
Original Post
I would have to agree with this based on my own experiences (I caught from Little League through College have taught myself from game experience and watching others). My one question, though, is on balls to a side, left or right.

Is the moving forward to cut down the angle that the ball is moving at, and how do you end up on a side of the plate?

Ok, maybe I have a few more questions...

Is this quicker than what I call "shooting around the ball" when the outside shoulder is turned in?

Does it matter if one continues to turn the outside shoulder in if the rest of this style is done? (I'd like to you know you all think, because this worked pretty well for me, especially in college)
lead with the glove to the outside of the plate and let your body surround it.. stay square to the pitcher..

like i said its a different technique, however, when you slide straight to the side you give a lot of distance the ball can travel.. if you come up to it, it will shorten the distance and allow you to attack and control
Ok let me make sure I got this straight before I ask my question. I am more of a visual guy than a verbal guy so I sometimes don't get things because I can't picture it in my head from reading.

You are set up and you see the ball coming in the dirt so you kick your feet out from under. In the traditional method the throwing hand goes behind the glove blocking the five hole (borrowing from hockey and the hole between the legs) and arms are in the slot like you said. Then the shoulders roll foreward and the chin is tucked into the chest.

Are you saying that you arch your back and bend at the waist to force the ball straight down with glove and throwing hand blocking the five hole? Also do you still tuck the chin? I would think so because it would help protect the throat.

If that is what you are saying then to me the key element to this technique is the bend at the waist. If you don't do this then you are going to have the ball shoot off.

Is this what you are saying and if not please clear it up for me. I think I understand what you are saying and I kind of like it but I want to make sure.

Thanks and I hope what I just rambled on about makes sense.
yes, bend over at the waist until you reach the breaking point of falling over... your chest should be horizontal to the ground-- when the ball hits you, push your chest down to force the ball to a standstill

one thing though, dont kick out your feet because that creates a lot of distance between you and the ball.. your glove leads with throwing hand behind it -- it goes out infront of you and your body gains distance to surround the glove

cut down the distance and blocking becomes very easy
quote:
Originally posted by catchaprospect:
yes, bend over at the waist until you reach the breaking point of falling over... your chest should be horizontal to the ground-- when the ball hits you, push your chest down to force the ball to a standstill

one thing though, dont kick out your feet because that creates a lot of distance between you and the ball.. your glove leads with throwing hand behind it -- it goes out infront of you and your body gains distance to surround the glove

cut down the distance and blocking becomes very easy


Catchaprospect,

What has been your success at teaching this to small diamond catchers (ages 8-12).
I'll work on the tape and forward it to everyone.. success rate has been phenominal with the young kids.. i have had a group of 3 kids since the spring ranging 10-12 and they picked it up with ease

the best case is a kid who just entered his freshman year... he already has a reputation of being one of the top defensive catchers in the area -- caught a varsity game in 8th grade and blocked 14/16 during that game.... he is so polished right now that we brought him with the East Coast Grays to the WWBA 18u NE Qualifier in long island --- and the 2 innings he caught got him a ton of interest from major DI programs as a follow

as far as baserunners go, it almost shuts them down... when they block the ball it stays right under their body.. if the runner takes off, the catcher grabs it, stands up and throws him out.... if the ball kicks out anywhere then the catcher wont have a chance... i'll try to film my kids next wed with their lesson
Remember like all aspect of baseball, blocking involves timing. Technique must be sounds, but the timing that comes from practice is very important to the success of the catcher. Different off speed pitches come in at different angles and speeds and react differently when they hit the ground. Cut the distance, chest just over knees, and body control must be combined with timing.

Big time revival of this thread haha. Does anyone here know if Chris Snusz is still in baseball? With the age of the threads he started the multimedia he included is no longer available. His information seems top notch and I would like to get in touch with him to ask a few catching questions. I saw an email on his profile, but seeing that he hasn't visited the forum since 2013 I assume that he isn't involved here anymore. A Google search also proved mostly uneventful and it appears the East Coast Grays site hasn't been updated in some time either. If anyone knows Chris I would really appreciate some up to date contact info so we can connect. Thanks for the help!

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