BaseballSetting the Foundation by Michael Hernandez


Blog by: Michael Hernandez

Sep 18, 2023

Setting the Foundation

A foundation is defined as the “lowest load bearing part of a building. It holds up the building and acts as a stabilizer while bearing heavy loads. The beginning stages of becoming a catcher just might serve the same purpose in leading to future success. Think about how long and difficult it takes to get rid of a bad habit. Now imagine trying to get rid of a bad habit you did not even know was there. With so much information and access to social media in today’s day and age it is very easy to get lost and confused on what is right or wrong. As an instructor in the saturated market of South Florida I’ve seen plenty of cases of very young catchers coming in with very fragile and almost broken foundations.

This all stems back to “what is important for my 10 year old catcher?” The answer is….it varies. How long has your son been catching? How many times a week does he practice catching? How often does he catch in a game? These are all questions which should be asked and thought about before any training takes place. 

With someone who is just starting out at the position the most important key to success is to learn stable and strong set-ups. This means being uncomfortable. This means legs hurting. This means doing some of the less fun stuff in the position. Everytime we have a young player come in and we change his or her set-up from being comfortable to being stable and powerful the first thing I hear is this is uncomfortable or my legs hurt……rightfully so. These are positions you have not been in because you are used to comfort. The more we get into these setups and positions the easier it will become.

With a catcher at the more intermediate level we can now dive more into some of the techniques and skills needed to become an elite catcher. Here the player understands that this position is never forgiving. They understand that there is a possibility of getting hurt and or hit by a baseball on every pitch. They understand that being uncomfortable is okay and they understand that this position is very demanding. At this point we start to address glove loads, attack angles, variable blocking while still incorporating and touching on all foundational work.

With the last catcher we start to dive into a lot of the more minute and detailed work. This player is someone whose full time position is catching. They are very serious about the position and understand what the elite level guys are doing, they just do not necessarily understand exactly what path to follow in order to get there. At this point it’s all about making the player uncomfortable. The player should find practice incredibly challenging while the game is easy and fun. 

One thing we all lose sight of is this is a game. Too many times I see parents running their young kids into the ground especially down here in South Florida where baseball is year round. Sometimes these players get no time off. I always tell my parents some of the best athletes and ball players I have seen are players who played all sports. Baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. Young players can only absorb so much at times I need to shift gears from teaching and just make it fun and most of the time, the players re-engage and pick up the adjustment even quicker. 

At the end of the day we need to make sure we surround ourselves around the right people providing the right information in the most digestible way possible for our young players. 

There is no one size fits all answer. Create your optimal foundation to stabilize the building blocks of your catching development.

Win Every Pitch!

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