BEAT THE BALL TO THE SPOT

Now that we have covered the Proper Blocking Position that you want to get to, it is time to talk about getting into that position quickly as possible. The second physical key to blocking well is to Beat the Ball to the Spot. We talk about this a lot in receiving as well, but basically it means being able to read/anticipate where the ball will end up and getting your body to that spot before the ball does.

In order to beat the ball to the spot, you need to get your glove and knees down as quickly as possible. If you break down your block into slow motion, your glove should be down before anything else. The glove leads the way. Your knees should land a split second after with both knees landing at the same time. And, it should go without saying that the goal is to end up in the proper blocking position that we just went over inthis post.

The bottom line, though, is that you have to get your glove and knees down as quickly as possible in order to Beat the Ball to the Spot and block the ball well. Why? Because the proper blocking position won’t help you at all if you cannot get yourself into position quickly enough by beating the ball to the spot. And, once the catcher gets the proper blocking position down, the mental focus turns exclusively to seeing the ball right out of the pitcher’s hand and anticipating where the ball will be. If you do not anticipate where the ball is going then there is no way you can get there before the ball does, no matter how quick your reaction time might be.

Every blocking drill we practice at Catcher University includes catchers working to Beat the Ball to the Spot. Here’s the thing, too: awareness of this blocking concept is the first major step. Simply teaching catchers the concept that they need to anticipate where the ball is going out of the pitcher’s hand rather than just reacting goes a long way in improving a catcher’s blocking ability.

As we are going to talk about in more detail in our next post, we are trying to do more than block the ball. We want to control the ball and keep it close. Getting into the Proper Blocking Position is step 1, step 2 isBeat the Ball to the Spot, and our next post will talk about step 3: Control the Ball

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