Softball Catchers Drills

Catchers Pop-Up Drill

Pop-ups hit into foul territory behind the plate can sometimes be tricky to gauge—the spin will often push the ball toward the field.

This drill will help catchers get used to locating the ball, staying behind it, and making the putout.

Once you locate the ball, the catcher should have their back toward the field.

Focus on communication too: “Ball.” Or, “I got it.”

Coaches: As the catchers start to get the hang of it, increase the height of the pop-up and its location behind the plate.

Catcher Receiving Stance: Runners on Base

Like the receiving stance when there are no baserunners, receiving when there are baserunners requires that the catcher keeps the weight on the balls of their feet.

Have the knees pointing forward, with the feet at shoulder width.

Stay relaxed: Keep the glove-side arm loose and slightly bent to handle all pitches

Make sure the catcher sets up correctly, aligning their glove with the top of the shin guards.

Set up to be quick: have the right foot pointed slightly off-center, and shift the hips higher than your knees to be able to move more quickly when throwing.

Catcher Receiving Stance: No Baserunners

After the catcher calls the pitch—fastball, rise ball, change, etc.—she will “Pop” her feet out, getting into the receiving stance.

Keep the weight on the balls of the feet, toes pointing slightly outward.

Keep the hips up high: this will increase the ability to move from side to side, covering each part of the plate, when receiving the pitch.

Make sure the catcher’s glove-side arm is not stiff; keep it bent and relaxed.

Stay square to the pitcher, giving a good target, while also making it easier to receive pitches on the inside and outside corners.

Catchers Bunt Play Drill Pt. 1: Placed Balls

This drill (with a placed ball) focuses on the footwork when fielding a bunt, from breaking out of the crouch to proper mechanics when making throws to first base.

The catcher will develop consistency with the throw to first base by working on planting the right foot next to the ball when fielding it.

Don’t waste time: make sure the catcher stays low on throw.

Catchers Bunt Play Pt. 2: Coach Rolls

This version of the Catchers Bunt Play Drill introduces game-like situations, where the coach or practice partner stands behind the catcher and simulates a bunt by rolling the ball out in front of the plate.

Mix it up: drop the ball to the left, center and right of the plate, varying the distance from the plate too.

The catcher needs to communicate with their team when there’s a bunt, calling for the ball, as they get ready to field and make the throw.

Stay quick! Keep the ball out of the glove, stay low, and make the throw in one motion to not waste time.

Catchers Walk Up Drill

Teaches catchers timing of their glove as they receive the ball, focusing on the firmness of the grab.

Catchers want a quiet glove, regardless of the pitch velocity

Catching: Setting Up Early vs. Setting Up Late

Setting up early or late is a preference based off the pitcher — neither is incorrect.

Setting up early to receive the pitch allows a pitcher to see where they are pitching.

Setting up late hides the intended pitch location.

Pitchers, catchers and coaches should all be aware of the chosen setup preference.

Catcher’s Glove Work: Framing Part 1

Setting your chest in line with the corner of the plate allows your glove to work the ball back to the plate.

The goal is to take a ball just off the corner of the plate and create a strike.

Keeping the glove up will bring the ball into the zone.

Catcher’s Glove Work: Framing Part 2

Proper framing makes balls that are just off the plate appear as strikes by bringing them back toward the corner.

Alternating sides allows the catcher to work both sides of the plate and work on more game-like situations.

The progression also helps build the catcher’s lower-half strength and conditioning.

Catcher’s Setup: Pitch Calling Stance

A narrow stance allows only the pitcher, second baseman, and shortstop to see the call.

Catchers should use their gloves to shield the call from the third base coach.

Hand placement when calling a pitch is essential so the infield players can see the call and the coaches can’t.