*Guest Blogger* Dan Jalbert writes about what it takes to be a successful catcher.
Dan Jalbert, now 33, has been catching since the age of 11. He played baseball at Danvers High and St. Lawrence University, and has played since 2000 in the Boston MABL, Yawkey League, and MSBL. He won the Tony C Comeback Player of the Year Award for the Rockies in the Yawkey League in 2008. He still plays for the Rockies as a Catcher/DH, is the head coach of the AAU 13U Scorpions, and does catching and hitting lessons at Extra-Innings Woburn. He also was a baseball player extra in .
It is no secret that catching is like no other position on the diamond. The catcher is looking directly at every other position on the field on every pitch, and must be aware of every little thing that is going on.
Be a field general
A good catcher must be a field general, he takes charge of the game and helps control what happens between the lines with his pitch selection, defensive calls, etc.
Observe the tendencies of the batters
Catchers have to take mental notes of each batter’s stance, swing, and at bats so as to know what pitches to call when that batter comes to the plate again. I can usually look at a batter’s swing and approach in the on-deck circle and have a good sense of how I want to pitch to that batter.
Do your homework so you do the thinking for the pitcher
The catcher must be the thinking part of the pitcher/catcher battery, so that the pitcher doesn’t have to think much. The pitcher’s responsibility should be to get on the mound, take the sign, and deliver the ball to a location. In addition, the catcher is usually the one to relay signs about pickoffs, bunt coverages, first and third situations, etc. to the rest of the team and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Develop a good relationship with the umpire
He has to make the pitcher look good with good frames, and this will hopefully develop a good relationship with the umpire.
Be tough- physically and mentally
The catcher must be both physically and mentally tough, as squatting for every pitch and taking fouls off the shoulders, mask, feet, and thighs definitely takes its toll in the summer heat!