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Catcher Throwing Styles to Second Base

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There are 3 main styles of throwing to second base. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. There is a certain rhythm to each of the throws that you will develop as you practice and use them. See the Drills section for some great throwing drills. For all throws - throw through the target, not to it!

Throwing Styles

1. Jab Step

The first style is the Jab Step. To perform the jab step, assume the ready stance. Just as you are about to catch the ball take a small step, a "jab step," toward second base with your throwing side leg. For a right-handed catcher, this means jabbing with your right leg. The inside of your ankle should be pointed in the direction of second base. This step is very small and meant to get your momentum moving toward your target. Catchers with weaker arms should consider using this method.

As you take this step STAY LOW. Do not stand up straight. After receiving the ball rake the ball into the throwing position. Rake quickly, taking your mitt from the receiving position or where you caught the ball to your ear or upper shoulder area (right ear for a right handed catcher). As you are raking the pitch, you should be transferring the ball to your throwing hand. Your throwing hand should have been behind the glove in the ready stance. This positioning facilitates a quick transfer and proper grip on the ball. Your front shoulder should now be pointed at second base, the ball in your throwing hand, and you should be striding with your left leg toward your target.

Now, make a short quick throw to second, transferring the weight from your backside to your front. Stay low, stay on top of your throw (don't drop your elbow), throw through the target, and keep your momentum moving toward the target. Do not let your momentum fall off line or away from your target. The target is a two-by-two foot square from the middle of the bag toward the second base side. Your follow through should be low and your throwing hand should almost hit your left knee. If you stand up too early or do not follow through, your throw will most likely be off-line and sail into the outfield.

2. Rock and Throw

The second throwing style to second base is the Rock and Throw. Simply keep your right foot planted where you caught the ball. Now, transfer your weight to the backside leg (rock) or load, rake to the throwing position, step toward your target (transferring your weight to the front side), and deliver a strong accurate throw. This method is fairly quick and can be used for pitches down the middle or to the backhand side. Avoid using this method on pitches to the left side of your body.

3. Replacement

The final throwing style is Replacement or Jump Pivot. Replacement is the quickest style and demands a strong arm to use properly. A strong arm is needed because there is little forward body momentum toward your target. Your legs start parallel with home plate and you "hop" into throwing position perpendicular to home. For a better picture, think of a clock. The feet in the ready stance start at the 3 and 9 positions. Simultaneously, you move both feet or "hop" into the 6 and 12 position. The back foot should actually be moving and planted a little sooner than the front to facilitate a proper backside load. Make sure to rotate the hips and shoulders. You should be raking to the throwing position as you perform the "hop." Now, deliver a strong accurate throw to second. Be quick! Remember, to throw through your target and stay low.

Side Note: The hop is NOT a jump. You must stay low and quickly shift your feet to the 6 and 12 position.

Hitter Swings and Falls Across Plate

A situation may arise where a runner is attempting to steal and the hitter swings and misses and falls across home plate. As a catcher, this is a distraction and the hitter could possibly interfere with your throw. Do not avoid him. If he falls into you or your throwing lane, make contact. The umpire will call interference and the runner will be out.

Final Thoughts

Pitch location often determines the style of throw you use. For pitches directly at you, use any of the three methods. For a pitch to your backhand side, use any of the three methods, with Rock and Throw being the most effective for an extreme backhand. For a pitch to the forehand side you can use any of the three styles, however Replacement and Jab Step are most effective. For any extremely outside pitch, you need to adjust you body and get behind the ball. Stay low and make sure your momentum is toward second base. Do not fall off to the side. You will also have to adjust what style you use depending on whether the hitter is right or left hand. A pitch inside to a lefty (your backhand) will make it more difficult to Rock and Throw because the hitter may be in your throwing lane. Experiment and practice each style so you will be able to use them without thinking.

KEYS: Three Styles of Throwing: Jab Step, Rock and Throw, Replacement or Jump Pivot, Load the Backside, Rake to Throwing Position, Proper Grip, Short Quick Release, Accuracy Matters, Throw Through the Target, Follow Through to Target
Catching 101