“Framing is easy!”
“Catchers can naturally do it.”
I hear these phrases so often from coaches and parents. It sends a chill up my spine and NOT a good one. Framing is, to this day, one of the most under appreciated and under taught skills in our game.
Framing wins ballgames. It’s that simple.
Think about it. How many times in a game do catchers get a chance to throw someone out stealing, make a play at the plate or the ESPN moment diving catch? Very rarely. How many chances do they get to influence whether a ball is called a strike? Every pitch!!
Ask any pitcher and she will tell you that a great catcher makes her feel unstoppable.
Let’s debunk a few myths when it comes to framing. Receiving a baseball and receiving a softball are two very different skills and should be taught as such. My girls constantly hear me yell, “Stick that Pitch!” Unlike baseball, our pitchers release point starts IN the strike zone and then moves OUT of the zone. Baseball is the opposite, the pitch starts outside of the strike zone and moves in.
So keeping that in mind, the further we allow the ball to travel the more likely it is to move out of the strike zone. Thus, “stick the pitch” translates to catch it while it is in the zone.
We will go into the teaching points of framing in another blog. They are:
Flash Target: Flash your target to your pitcher.
Shift: Shift your body in or out.
Sit: Sit in your receiving position.
Stick: Stick that pitch.
About the Author: Claudia Cooper,played at North Carolina State from 2006–10. She had the second highest OBP for the Wolfpack during her Junior season and rounded out that year with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. After graduation, she spent the 2010–11 season as a student assistant at her alma mater. Since leaving NC State, Coop has been a staff instructor at Elite Training Academy, coaching individuals, small groups and teams. Book her here.
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