The first thing I would like to say about the second edition of The Complete Handbook of Coaching Catchers is I really like it. It is extremely current. The first edition took me five years to write and by the time it was published, there were things in the book that were somewhat outdated. In the seven years since it was published, there have been even more changes in how the best in the game catch. I edited this book in the last six months so it is very much up to date relative to the mechanics and techniques of today s catching. The early material was not wrong or bad, we just have more options now so we can better individualize instruction. It s more about expanding data than totally changing lanes. Each player will have more choices in finding their individual sweet spot. This book is like a buffet. Pick those things off the table that best fit your skill set, or as coaches best fit the skill set of your players.
You will find changes & additional information in the following areas:
A. Tag plays-because of the new “Buster Posey” rule in baseball, we have revamped the way we execute tag plays at home plate. There are many more one-handed sweep tags and fewer collisions at home plate.
B. Stances/setups-this is probably the biggest change in the last three years as a result of the introduction and utilization of one-knee stances. Targets have never been lower.
C. Pitch calling-as a result of new and better data from Trackman, Statcast, Hawk Eye, and Rapsodo, we are pitch calling to things like spin rate, spin axis, and true spin. We are getting hitters out with more of a north-south and front-back plan of attack. More high fastballs and off-speed pitches are being called and thrown than ever before.
D. Receiving-never before have catchers been moving marginal pitches as often after they make first contact with the ball. Also, balls are being caught with a backhand approach more than ever.
E. Blocking ball in the dirt-catchers are blocking a high percentage of balls in the dirt from one-knee stances. The block retrieve and throw piece of the blocking process has become more important because base runners are more proficient in ready balls in the dirt.
F. Throwing-again, the one-knee stance has impacted how we organize our body to throw runners out. Arm strength is still important but alignment and release have taken on additional import.
G. Drills-there are many more drills to develop players’ skills in all areas.