Skip to main content

knee savers were originally designed for older catchers who had been catching for 20+ years. i see so many young catchers wearing them to protect their knees. when i see a young kid wearing them i always ask which type of surgery they had on their knees. my point is that if they are worried about their knees at that age, they are at the wrong position. catching at a young age will help to develop and strengthen their legs. wearing the knee savers makes the kids too comfortable back their and that causes laziness. unless they rise off of them with guys on base or with 2 strikes, it limits their blocking and overall pop times. kids wear them due to the fact that they see big leaguers wearing them.. nothing more... they look cool and everyone wants them. kids dont need them, and if they want to protect their knees, then dont allow them to set up sitting on the insides of their feet with their knees collapsed in.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

if they want to protect their knees, then dont allow them to set up sitting on the insides of their feet with their knees collapsed in.


Well said, this is so common in the young players I see, ages 8-12. I cringe when I see them rolled over onto the insides of their feet with their knees pinched in (I like your term collapsed as well).

Besides being just tough to move around in that position, the stress it puts on the knees is significantly more then if the youngster is in a correct position with the entire bottom of his foot in contact with the ground. Then the knees bend the way they're built to bend.
I understand what you are saying about little league players wearing them(because quite honestly the games are light and not terribly challenging)

With that said,I have no problem with the High school or college/pro catcher wearing them.I personally wear them.
-When you are working bullpens,its a great thing to have.
-It doesnt slow a pop time if you throw and use proper footwork
-It doesnt make you lazy,chances are you were already lazy and have poor work habits if you are "lazy" behind the plate.

For little league players,I agree 100% they shouldnt use them,but at the upper levels,its helpful in not relying 100% on your knees.
I agree that they don't "make" someone lazy. That is the makeup of the individual. To offer an opposing viewpoint about kneesavers being for older guys to save their knees, how about using them when you're a little younger to "SAVE" your knees? They are called kneesavers, probably for a reason.

Could it be that catchers who've used them from maybe 15 or 16 years old and onward will have better knees in their 20's and 30's than the guys who don't? I know where I'd bet ont that one.
who started wearing them... sandy alomar jr, because of the abuse his knees took over his career... saving their knees now so they'll have them in their 20's? if they set up correctly, they dont need them. plus, by the time they are in their 20s, about 95% of them will be reduced to some summer league a couple times a week.. i don't mind them for bullpens, however this is a tough position both mentally and physically... i just cant seem to comprehend how all of a sudden high school and middle school kids must save their bodies due to the work load they have behind the plate.... guys are doing it every day from the middle of february to the end of september without them. technique saves your knees, not cushions. and if you are too comfortable with them, you will sit back which can affect blocking and throwing... that being said, if you are off of them with guys on base or with 2 strikes -- then they dont become an issue....its the kids sitting all the way down on them who wonder why they arent blocking well or throwing people out that this post applies too.

tip of the day: to decrease your time to second, keep your hands close to your body on your transfer (like an infielder turning 2). this will allow your arm to get into its proper slot and to be in sinc with the rest of your body. by reaching out you have to catch the ball, open the glove, reach inside, grab the ball, grip the ball, bring your arm back, step and throw... when this happens you'll tend to see the arm drag and cause the ball to tail
I have worn them for about ummm, probably 6 years or so. I have been playing for about 10 though. WHen I started, I never wore them, because I was a kid, and didn't feel the difference. Then, I went to a tryout, and left my shin guards at home, and borrowed another kids. He had kneesavers, and I was like "wow, these really do relieve the pressure on my knees" I went out and bought some. I will say, they do help improve endurance, especially during those long innings and games. Last year I started using them only in bullpen, and some in practice, but then I injured my knee and had to have surgery, so I'm back on them. Haven't gotten to use them much, its only been a month, but I will have to use them. I have never noticed them to be obstructive in anyway.

I used to have trouble blocking, partly because I sat all the way back on the knee savers, and partly because I'd never really known how to do it. I learned last year (yeah, kinda late, but better late than never), and I am getting better at it.

Knee savers must be used as knee savers, not as knee rests. They can't be used all the time, because you're being lazy, but if you never use them, why have them at all. There is a fine line between genius and insanity, the same goes for using knee savers.
Let your legs develop. Young catchers are doing themselves such an injustice by wearing them, they arent letting their legs develop. If in your mind your asking yourself whether to wear knee savers or not... consider this, when knee savers first came out it was because Javy Lopez started wearing them. Why? because he just had knee SURGERY! if you have had knee surgery or any knee damage then yes, knee savers are fine and basically necessary, but if you havent had knee surgery or no knee problems, please don't dare pick up a pair of them things. And I highly doubt any of you current catchers in here have had knee surgery yet, so keep them off and let your legs develop and create the proper muscle memory to catch at higher levels of the game, and if you absolutly need them things, and you havent had knee surgery, you need to find another position.
I have worn knee savers for about 4 seasons now. I personally do not think it's bad to wear knee savers. Since most knee problems are hereditary and my family does not have a good history with knees. I think it would be smart to cut the risk of injuring my knees by wearing them. In fact my brother has had his second knee surgery today with in a two-year period. My assistant coach last year told me knee savers are for lazy catchers. I was amazed he said that because at a UT game last year both the catchers suited out were wearing knee savers. I thought to myself if the catchers that play for one of the best baseball programs in the nation are wearing them, than it's not a bad thing. Personally I believe we should use the new innovative tools that come out for catching so we can avoid future knee problems.
If knee savers are used post surgery that is one thing, but you can't overlook the importance of off-season and in-season training and conditioning. Many catchers will run into problems throughout the course of the season because the rest of their body is breaking down. A well maintain off-season program is vital to in-season health. A catcher will break down during the season, the amount of wear and tear on the body and knees can depend on how well he prepares his legs for the long year and how well that strength is maintain during the season. (Just another way to look at why and how knees get worn down)
I'm a sophmore in highschool and I've been wearing them since I was about 13 with point being one of my friends (catcher) never wore knee savers and got water on the knee so its almost preventive mantince. Plus when your in a squat for a little bit it just relives so much stress off your joints I really dont see the point in not wearing them
In my son's case, he was a heavier set guy when he started catching. I understand the point that you want to let the knees/legs develop however, I wanted to get him through that stage. He's still big (11YO and 5'2 1/2", 140 pounds) but I feel that they saved a lot of wear and tear over the prior two seasons.

Also, although the little guys are playing less frequently, the developing pitchers are giving the catchers a lot of up and downs.

Last edited by Notlongtilicantcatchim
I've finally recovered from my knee surgery, after physical therapy and what not, its been about 6 months, but I'm about 95% now. I've been moved mostly to 1st base now, because I'm much better at it than catcher, although I enjoy catcher much more, but I use kneesavers now. I don't want to overwork my knee because it still bother me occasionally, but the only time I use them, is with no runners on, or when I'm relaxed and giving signals. When I need to up and ready, its like they're not even there. When I can relax, I'm glad they there.

I switch names though, eaglebaseball was my old one.
im a shorter catcher and the knee savers not only add a great deal of comfort to a generally uncomfortable position, but they give me some height. i personally thought at first that they were all negative, but then i tried them and instantly my opinions were reversed. if you feel at all that there is something wrong with them, just try them...
I think its ridiculous to wait until you need surgery to pick up a pair of knee savers. Why would you do that to yourself?

I use them, but when there is a runner on, my butt is not touching my knee savers. I am in perfect "runners on" stance.

There is nothing wrong with using knee savers, as long as your pop time and blocking arent affected by it. Nobody is lazy BECAUSE they wear knee savers.
As an umpire (and a catcher with many games behing the dish) I can tell you catchers, especially you inexperienced ones, if you're sitting up on knee savers you're making it hard to see the low strikes. Receiving the ball close to your body doesn't help either, even if the runner is stealing. Proper footwork is more important here. By catching the ball close to your body you tend to pop up faster. Again blocking the strike zone. Do not pull your glove back into the strike zone when you catch a pich, that just tells me ever you thought it wasn't a strike. Catch the ball with arm extended and palm turned down to the ground and pop it down. It gives such a better look to the umpire.



Last edited by Jimi Hendrix
Just to throw in my two cents.....

I used to use knee savers, that is no longer the case. Without them your legs are stronger and its just overall better. Without the knee savers it helps me stay flexible and prevents laziness. If you ever go to a Division I Baseball camp ask coaches on their opinion of knee savers and you will further understand.
When my son was in the 8th grade he went to a Pitchers Catchers camp at a local major D-1 college. While working in the bullpens I saw him walk over to the dugout and start taking his knee savers off his shin guards. It took him awhile to get them off by the way.

When the day was over and we were walking to the truck I asked him why he took them off. "___________ said that the coaches dont let them were them here. He said the coaches dont like them. So Im not wearing them anymore."

And he never did again. I dont know the answer to this question. It might just be a matter of what do you like to do. If you like them and the coach doesnt have a problem with them fine. I think if your lazy your lazy. And if your not your not. My son has never complained of his kness bothering him or his legs. To each his own. I will say he ended up signing with this college. So now he doesnt have to worry about getting used to not using them.
Running a camp for catchers as I do this is a very common question I am asked. My own 2 sons have never liked them, never wore them. Of the 105 catchers that were at my 2 weeks of summer camp more then 40 were wearing them.

The question that has always bothered me was what amount of research was done in the development of the knee savers regarding catchers, prolonged squatting, and eventual knee damage.

To get that answer I spoke at lengh with the doctor that designed them,patented them in 1991, and sold the rights to Easton. Dr Farrago is a doctor in Maine. What I learned was that there was no specific study done relating to catchers or sports at all. All of the research that was done, and conclusions drawn, from work done with coal miners. You know, 6 ft tall miners in a 4ft high caves, lotsa squatting going on there for sure.

The application for catchers was a spinoff from that research, and when it was applied to catchers it was initially applied to older MLB catchers with existing bad knees.

Dr Farrago was very clear that no studies were ever done regarding the preventitive value of wearing them as a youth catcher, (ages 9-12).

He also made it very clear that they MUST be worn on the lower strap settings to avoid putting pressure on the back side of the knee joint.

I then asked him whether it is the mere act of repeated squatting that causes this damage, seeing that the knee is designed to bend that way. My illustration was why are their entire Asian cultures that spend more time in a catchers squat position as a daily routine and never have knee problems? Elderly people in these cultures are in that position for hours a day, they do not seem to need Knee Savers. Dr Farrago has thought about that situation himself and does not have a medical reason why they do not suffer from this "catcher specific" problem. He questioned whether it may have to do with the fact that from childhood these people sit that way, but he was not sure.

Below is a picture of 3 good looking catchers from overseas, they do not seem to have any knee problems.

So it is clear that many older adult catchers have been able to lenghten careers after knee injuries with Knee Savers, the rest is still up in the air for me.

Last edited by Catching Coach
Personally, I wish they they had been around 30+ years ago....maybe my knees wouldn't sound like cereal.

One problem is often what coaches expect of the catcher in the way of blocking. My son's HS coach wants everything,every pitch blocked. So the catchers don't really use the knee savers except when giving signs to the pitcher. So they really don't use them much at all.

Example shown in the picture of the 3 Asian gentleman squatting. Very comfortable position to squat but not good/efficient for catching if lateral movement is needed (heels way too close together,etc. I imagine the flexibilty these guys have developed since birth has some bearing on the lack of knee problemms. I wonder how much damage is done by squatting itself versus the strain of getting up and also continual impact on the knees from years of blocking.

Personally, I like the squatting position shown( particularly guy on far right)to catch with as it offers a good srong position with your butt lower than the mitt. I'm not a big proponent of blocking every pitch(unless situation demands it; catchers get beat up enough blocking the pitches they have to block without getting dinged on a pitch 2 ft outside w/1 out and no runners)but that's what some coaches want ( wonder how many ever caught).

Funny thing about the knee saver is I made an 8 yr old use them intentionally to sit on. No stealing, machine pitch with limited kid pitch situation. The 8 yr old was giving with the pitch (posture was bad)and knocking him back on his butt. So I put the knee savers on and they forced his weight forward onto the balls of his feet as he sat on them. Granted, foot position was a little narrow and mitt position was high but this was 8 yr old ball and all I wanted was for him to get comfortable and get some confidence. Worked like a charm; didn't fall again at all and even got him in an easier position to block with his butt higher and weight forward ( blocking wasn't an initial goal). 8 years later, he's catching HS and considered one of the best catchers in the, knee savers didn't have anything to do with that.

If knee savers make your catcher've got the wrong kid behind the plate. He likes the title but not the work that goes along with it.
Wear them if you like them dont if you do not like them. I do believe in blocking everything. Regardless of the situation. Its a mental attitude that the catcher needs to have. Letting pitches go because the situation does not reguire a block creates a poor mental attitude toward blocking. Oh now I have to block because there is a runner on. NO you block everything in every situation because you never want anything to get by you. Your job is to protect the umpire , give your pitchers confidence , and show your team that the D starts and ends with you. When you start catching guys that are in the upper 80's to 90's with great movement the reaction time needed to be a good blocker behind the plate decreases dramatically. There is no time to say - oh thats too far off the plate and I dont need to block in this situation. NO you are already in the mindset that nothing gets by you regardless. This is just my opinion. Everyone has one. No I did not catch. But there is no posistion that I respect more than this posistion. And there is no posistion that requires as much dedication and desire to be really good at.

Knee savers I could careless. Wear them if you want to. Dont if you dont want to. But my son was not asking the colleges that recruited him if they believed in knee savers. He already knew that they wanted someone that wanted to block and took pride in the ability to do it.
Coach May,
In general I agree with blocking everything and always protect the blue in all situations. The catcher is always going to try to block/pick/smother every pitch. Always, no exceptions. Never is free rein given to ole' a pitch and let it go to the backstop. It's never "I don't need to block this pitch" but rather "How am I gonna stop this one"... those are the pitches way off the plate.

The catcher's stance dictates everything he will be able to do unless he is always in a runners on base stance. Then his blocking range is wider but if he down low (butt fist-high off ground), he is limited to what he can do laterally.

The issue isn't blocking but when should you block versus pick versus smother. And that actually boils down to pitch recognition more than anything. By HS, if a catcher doesn't block well he isn't a catcher for long. Blocking hurts, period. At 85-90 mph, even the pitches you block fairly well ding you to some degree. The further up the ladder a catcher progresses, the smarter he has to be about protecting himself because the season gets longer. Show me a catcher with no bruises after a game and I'll show you one that sat on the bench.

The pitches that I don't advocate blocking are the ones I described that are in a different zipcode. 18"-24" off the plate is at the outer limits of what can be blocked...realistically, our college pitchers (most were 85-90 mph) were given a zone 13 baseballs wide at the plate that they knew the catchers should block 100% of the time. Get outside that and they caught hell from the coach and the catcher. Speed doesn't bother a catcher...a pitcher with no control of anything does.

Basically the zone is as wide as a normal door, not a difficult target even for a 12 yr old. Plate is 7 balls wide giving you 3 on both sides...catcher sets up 2 balls outside, you have a 1ball/7ball/5ball zone with the 5 balls being to the side the catcher set up. Any HS pitcher should be able to do this easily..if not, either his mechanics are way off or he is badly losing focus; either of which demands a quick visit from the catcher.

MLB catchers as good as they are don't block a pitch 2 feet outside...they pick and hope to knock it down/smother it. Many HS coaches go overboard on the blocking everything to the point of wanting catchers to dive for ball even with no runners...really simple reason is they see the pitch from the side (vertically) not from behind (horizontally) when in the dugout. For that matter, there are HS coaches don't know how to watch a catcher recieving a pitch to tell pitch location.

How often have you heard a HS coach tell a catcher to always protect himself...probably only if he caught himself. Back in the 60's/70's that was the first thing that came out the coach's mouth because you can't help the team injured. You can play hurt/dinged and be effective (normal catcher status at some point) but being injured usually limits you too much.

All goes back to pitch recognition which is why it is so important that catchers do bullpens and work hard. Bullpen sessions give a catcher a look at all the pitchers,their deliveries and their movement.
I've always thought great footwook behind the plate is what makes a catcher stand out from above the rest. Anybody can fall forward and block a ball in front of them. Pudge had the best footwook of any that I can remember and that's what made his defense over the top of the others.

As far as the knee savers issues, I ran hurdles in school, so I did several strecthing exercises before and after a race. I've also competed as a catcher in adult leagues for quite some time and have continued my basic stretching program before and after a game. I have never used the savers and never had problems with my knees. I also spent a good deal of my working career on my feet. I did some type of stretching exercises for my job. I don't know if they have helped, but I don't think I would able to do as much athletically as I do today if I hadn't of continued.
Last edited by Jimi Hendrix
Great discussion, there are some really great posts here.

Personally, I like wearing knee savers. I'm a freshman in college, and I haven't had a problem with them yet. In fact, the only time I ever use them is to give signals, but that is a welcomed break. The other 90 percent of the time I'm either in my receiving or runner on stances.

So, like many other posts, I don't think it is the knee savers that makes or breaks the catcher.
Hey guys, first post.

I recently took these off, and have noticed i am alot more agile without them, and throws to second are way more consistent. Even when i had them though, i never rested on them with men on. I think it could be because this helps keep your legs warm because you are always using them, not resting them.

Anyway, when i catch, i rest on the insides of my feet to push off lateraly, but my knees dont go way in. Is this incorrect?

Like this guy when he recieves in secondary, except i go a bit wider
Last edited by MizunoPro
Originally posted by Jimi Hendrix:
I've always thought great footwook behind the plate is what makes a catcher stand out from above the rest. Anybody can fall forward and block a ball in front of them. Pudge had the best footwook of any that I can remember and that's what made his defense over the top of the others.

As far as the knee savers issues, I ran hurdles in school, so I did several strecthing exercises before and after a race. I've also competed as a catcher in adult leagues for quite some time and have continued my basic stretching program before and after a game. I have never used the savers and never had problems with my knees. I also spent a good deal of my working career on my feet. I did some type of stretching exercises for my job. I don't know if they have helped, but I don't think I would able to do as much athletically as I do today if I hadn't of continued.

Track is during baseball season
My son has been going to winter baseball camp at Florida State and working as a catcher under Mike Martin Jr. for the last 4 years. He is widely respected as one of the best catching instructors in the NCAA today.
He always addresses the issue of knee savers at the camps and he is a big proponent of using them, and all of their guys wear them (worked for Buster Posey). He said that it keeps the catchers from getting too deep into a squat which is a less athletic position and can promote laziness.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.