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Catching - Knowing Your Pitchers
Knowing your pitchers
Knowing your pitchers is a big part of catching. You are not only there to catch him, but also calm him down, and keep him focused.
The relationship between the pitcher and catcher is very important for many reasons. One they have to be on the same page. You must know what your pitcher is trying to accomplish and how he plans on doing that. If he has an idea in his head on how he wants to pitch to certain batters and you are thinking something different, then it's going to be a long stressful game. Before the game you should get with the starting pitcher. If it's the first time you are catching him, you would obviously want to know what pitches he throws. More than that, you should ask when he likes to throw them. Ahead in the count, behind in the count, as a strike out pitch. Most pitchers should have an idea before the game even starts. I would also suggest catching the starting pitcher for a little bit while he is warming up. I know this is usually the back up catchers job, but it is a good idea to see what your pitcher has that day to see what you have to work with. Maybe his curve ball isn't breaking, but get with him and talk about it before you go out there.
Another reason you need to have a good relationship with your pitcher is that you need to be able to get him focused. To do this you are going to have to know what kind of person he is. Is he one of those guys that you can run up and get in his face and say, come on let's get this guy, or is he a guy that you are gonna have to go out there and calm him down? You have to know this. Some pitchers may react differently. You don't want to go run up and get that mean competitive face on with a guy that is already out there shaking in his boots. You wanna go up to him, put an arm on his shoulder and tell him to take a breath, then explain what you are going to do with the next batter. The same goes the other way around, you don't wanna try to do that to someone who likes that aggresive manner. You will just be taking the adrenaline away from him. That is why it is so important to know your pitchers.
If not for any other reason, you should try to be friends with your pitchers and the rest of the team because a close knit team are always the funnest to play for. And subsequently, they are always the ones that win!