Question for you – do you (or your catcher) throw like a catcher?
That might sound like a funny question, but it’s an important one. We talked about the three essential throwing fundamentals in some of our previous posts (#1 HERE, #2 HERE, #3 HERE), but one thing we have not talked about yet is the Catcher Arm Action.
A lot of time and resources are spent training how to transfer the ball properly with your hands and feet, and that is time well spent. The Catcher Arm Action, though, is just as important and often overlooked.
Before going any further, let us mention that you should always approach working with the arm action of any baseball player tentatively. We are not robots, and some players are simply never going to have the “ideal” arm action. Always tread lightly and ease into training arm actions. When we are working with a catcher on his/her arm action, we forewarn him/her that we am going to ask him/her repeatedly how his/her arm feels, probably to the point of being annoying. But we also tell him/her that we don’t care if we are annoying about how much we are asking because we want to make sure that nothing we are working on is causing pain in the wrong areas.
The first step in the proper arm action is to Separate the Hands Straight to the Arm Slot. Many catchers will drop, or loop, their throwing hand out of the glove and take an inefficient route to the arm slot. Any unnecessary movement wastes precious time. There should be no loops, drops, or rounded motions – just a straight line from the transfer point at the right shoulder to the arm slot.
The next step in the Catcher Arm Action is to use the Catcher Arm Slot. The Catcher Arm Slot is as follows:
- Right elbow horizontally aligned with right shoulder
- Forearm at approximately 45 degree angle
- Neutral, 4-seam grip on the baseball
- Straight line between left elbow, shoulders, and right elbow
The last step in the Catcher Arm Action is a Smooth Rhythm Throw. We know that the Clock is King when it comes to throwing, so the goal is to get the ball out of the hand as quickly as possible. A significant time-killer occurs when catchers pause, or load, or hitch, as they are throwing the ball. There should be no pause between getting to the Catcher Arm Slot and then the arm coming forward to release the ball. The goal is a Smooth Rhythm Throw with zero pauses of any kind.
So there you have it – the keys of the Catcher Arm Action:
- Separate the Hands Straight to the Arm Slot
- Catcher Arm Slot
- Smooth Rhythm Throw
Curious what a good catcher arm slot looks like in action? Check out the video below:
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