January 2018 - Tip of the Month




Happy New Year everyone! 

The clock striking midnight on New Year’s eve signals a new start, a turning over of the proverbial leaf. It can be a symbol of newfound hope and/or dedication. It, however, does not signal the start to a “new you”. Simply rolling our calendars over to the next year does not enact the change that we may desire for ourselves. We might want to become bigger, stronger, faster, more dedicated to our health or education. But none of that is possible without concerted, mindful and purposeful effort.

I compare this to the New Years gym rush that happens every January 2nd. Go to any gym on the planet on January 2nd and good luck finding a free machine or treadmill. Go back on January 9th, just a week later, and half of the people you saw there a week ago will be gone. It happens year in and year out. People are energized by the new year, they rededicate themselves to something that was never sustainable in the first place. They never put in the time to change the one that that matters the most. Their true mindset. 

As humans, we’ve unfortunately been conditioned to seek out the quick fix, the instant gratification. Often, when we realize how hard real change and progress actually is, we bail and revert right back to what was comfortable. 

So, here’s my challenge to all of you catchers out there. Don’t let your New Year’s resolution be “I want to become the best catcher I can be”. There is no plan of action involved in that. Instead, make your resolution about how you'll become the best catcher you can possibly be. And then…draw up a realistic plan of how to reach your goal and make sure it is feasible enough that you can follow it each and every day. My New Year’s resolution could be “I want to become a millionaire”, but if I don’t actually have a realistic plan of action to achieve that, it's never happening. When you give yourself a game-plan, and a pathway to your goals, they are significantly more achievable. 

Catchers, change your mindset, and you’ll change yourself. 

Thanks for reading this month’s Tip of the Month! Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And make sure to check out the rest of our Road Trip Camp schedule. We still have space available in all of our remaining camps in NH, LA, TN, PA, NV, OH and IL. Don’t miss out! Sign up soon!

October 2017 - Tip of the Month

"It doesn't get by me often, but when it does..."


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From time to time, now matter how hard we have worked, the ball has a tendency to find it’s way behind us. Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes the ball hit a chuck of dirt or clay, sometimes it hit the front of the plate and trampolined it’s way to the backstop. Either way, regardless of how good we are at blocking, it’s going to happen. 

When it does, it’s important to make sure that we have our action plan mapped out before the game ever begins. If there is a runner on 3B, not only do we need to be quick to the ball, but we have to remain under control through the entire approach. Otherwise, when we do eventually get to the ball, we’ll be off balance and risk, not only making a poor throw, but potentially giving other runners an opportunity to advance to another base, or we could lead our pitcher into a far more dangerous position while attempting to catch our errant throw. 

The videos below show two TCC senior staff members/pro clients going through the proper approach to securing a ball that gets behind us with a runner on 3B heading home. 

Our goal should always be to arrive at the ball with the front side of our body pointed back towards home plate. To do this, we will always come out of our finished block by turning glove side. If we turn throwing hand side, we will have to add an additional turn in our approach that will cost us time while trying to line up our body towards home plate.  

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As we approach the ball, you’ll notice both of their trail knees hit the ground first as they begins their slide. They do this to ensure a very precise approach to the ball. By dropping the trail knee first, it starts to slow the body down after a full sprint, and allows them to use their lead knee stop their approach once they have centered themselves up with the ball. 

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Since a barehand approach could very well lead to a bad grip on the ball and an errant throw, we should use a two hand approach more often than not. Is there ever going to be a time where we don’t have the luxury of bringing our hands together? Sure. And we must use our judgement to determine when that approach is necessary. 

After we have raked the ball into our throwing hand, we should immediately start our throwing motion, while bringing our front leg up in front of us to stabilize the throw.



Keep in mind, accuracy is paramount. But, the only target we should be looking for is the pitcher’s glove. No matter where they hold it, hit their glove. If they're waving their glove above their head…throw it to the glove. While keeping an eye on the runner AND us at the same time, they will never be able to react quickly enough to catch a ball that is not thrown to wherever they are holding it. It’s our responsibility to make sure we are on the same page with the pitcher in this regard. Let them know that you want them to hold their glove a couple feet off the ground in front of home plate, and that it’s their responsibility to get it there before your throw. 

Make sure to use a velocity appropriate for the distance. If you unload an absolute rocket back towards home plate, your pitcher, who isn’t wearing any equipment, and has their attention split between you, the plate, and the runner bearing down on them, they most likely won’t be able to make the play. Use a quick firm throw back to the plate for the best possible chance of an out. 

Let’s face it, this play will not result in an out the majority of the time. There are so many factors in play here. How good a jump the runner got. How far away from us the ball is. The surface in front of the backstop (Pro tip: walk the backstop before the game to familiarize yourself and prepare for what you’ll encounter during the game). But the times where there is a play to be had. Let’s make sure we approach this in a way that gives us the best chance of success. 

Catchers, we can’t always control when the ball is going to get behind us, but we can control our approach after it happens.  




September 2017 - Tip of the Month

"If you're not five minutes early, you're late"



My dad had a saying, and I’m pretty sure most of you all have heard something similar from someone in your life...

“If you’re not 5 minutes early, you're late.”

The purpose of which is to stress the importance of preparedness and punctuality. Nobody likes to wait. Especially not your teammates. 

This month’s tip of the month will focus on that sentiment, specifically in regards to throwing. While some may equate what we’re about to cover as “cheating” during a throw to 2B, we believe it’s the best approach to the real life application of the skill. 

Whether in a showcase format or in the bottom of the ninth of a close game, the ability to keep runners out of scoring position is paramount. Controlling the running game and an opposing team’s aggressiveness on the base paths can have a profound impact on outcome of a game. 

Repeat this phrase. “I will trade a strike for an out all day long.” Now memorize it, and burn it into your brain. I’m not saying there aren’t certain situations that warrant a more conservative approach (i.e. Two strikes on a dangerous hitter, late in a close game, with two outs), awareness is key. But, the majority of the time, risking a strike for a much better shot at an out will in the long run lead to better long-term outcomes. It holds especially true for those underneath the magnifying glass of college and professional scouts. 

Below is a video of one of our student instructors. A college athlete at a very high level, and a catcher who should get a shot to play at the next level. 



I asked him permission to use this clip because I believe it exemplifies the point we’re trying to make here. Earlier is better, as long as the initial direction of the body is consistently up. 

These throws are off of a pitch to roughly the exact same location so we can get a good sense of the key differences between them.



In the “before" clip on the left you can see the catcher’s hips kicking to the side with minimal amount of upper or lower body rotation. There is also very little movement upwards. In the “after” clip on the right, you’ll notice the adjustment he made by starting his body up and beginning to close his front side earlier in the process. The phrase we use is “every inch up should be an inch turned.” The result is control of our body momentum and the ability to create better direction after out back foot plants underneath us. If the hips continually kick to the left, most of the time we won’t be able to create forward momentum, and instead we'll fall off to the side during the throw. This will lead to a throw that tails into the runner (or away from the runner, for all the lefties out there) and most likely very high, if not a complete overthrow of 2B. 

The key to all of this is that in the “after” clip, the catcher has started these movements before the ball has touched his glove. By the time his right foot is firmly planted to the ground, his entire side is pointed towards his target and he has complete directional control of his body from that point forward. 

Is there a chance that starting the process earlier might lead to us impeding an umpire’s view of the strike zone? Admittedly, yes. Again, there is a time where sticking the strike will be more important than the runner stealing on us. But most of the time...“I will trade a strike for an out all day long.”

Catchers, remember it’s not cheating if the umpire calls the runner out. Start the process of your throws earlier. The quicker we can get our body athletically upright and turned, the sooner we can get rid of the ball. In this catcher’s case, it sped up his release by over a tenth of a second. That is plenty of time to turn a lot of “safe” calls into "outs”. 

Thanks for reading this month’s Tip of the Month! 

June 2017 - Tip of the Month

"Choose Wisely"


The days of heading to your local sporting goods shop and asking the manager to let you try on a few mitts are fading. We live in an ever-expanding online marketplace and often we rely on other’s opinions to choose our own gear. Many times without ever trying it on ourselves.  

When it comes to catcher’s equipment, and more specifically a catcher’s mitt, it is so incredibly important that you do whatever you can to try them on before you buy them. 

Certain companies are known for their quality (we absolutely love All-Star gear and mitts for their comfort, functionality, attention to detail and R&D work), but it does not mean that it will be the right gear for you. 

When it comes to a catcher’s mitt, it has to feel like a part of your hand. An extension of your own body. That is how comfortable it should be. You cannot gain that level of comfort from looking at a picture online or reading reviews. No matter how many 5-star ratings there are, it does not mean that it is a 5-star decision for you. 

Folks ask me all the time, “what glove do you recommend for my catcher?”. It’s such a loaded question because, while I could certainly throw out a few options, I can’t possibly know what is going to feel most comfortable to that player. 

My recommendation to anyone looking to find the right fit when it comes to a mitt….Try. It. On! Find a local dealer for the company of the mitt you’re thinking about buying and try it on. Ask a teammate who has one if they will do you the incredible courtesy of letting you put your hand inside their mitt. Find a way to try it on. 

Catchers, catching is an art and the mitt is our paintbrush. Paint brushes come in so many different sizes and shapes to adhere to the hand shape and size of the artist. So do catcher’s mitts. 

I hope you enjoyed this month’s Tip of the Month! 

As a side note, there are just 3 days left to save $100 on your registration for our 17th Annual Summer Camp! This year’s camp will be our best by far and we are so excited to get started. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to save $100! Click HERE for more information or to register!



Lastly, in case you were wondering....yes, that is a TCC branded catcher's mitt. More details to come!

April 2017 - Tip of the Month

"There's No Such Thing as a Good Throwing Position"

As I am sitting here on the balcony of our hotel, overlooking the Caribbean (a surprise birthday present from my wonderful better half), I cannot help but notice the parallels between the waves crashing onto the beach and the smooth sequencing of an elite throwing catcher.  

The rolling waves demonstrate exactly the type of feeling we should achieve while throwing. This smooth continuous overlapping of athletic movements that lead to an explosive release of the ball. The best in the game make throws seem effortless, and they should be exactly that… effortless. 

Effortlessness is achieved through efficiency. Not an ounce of energy wasted, not an inch of movement unaccounted for. Every single tenth of a second contributing to the end goal of getting rid of the ball as quickly as we can while maxing our release velocity. 

How do we achieve this result? Simple. Practice. But concerted, pointed and intent-driven practice. 

I recently began working with a pro who was already pretty gifted behind the plate in his own right. But, there was an extreme reliance on athleticism and his strong arm when it came to throwing. He was never given an approach that would enable him to achieve peak results. 

After sitting down for an afternoon, going through throws, breaking down video, it became glaringly obvious just how much better this guy could be. Before an hour had gone by he had shaved over a tenth of a second off of his release. 

Now, that might not seem like a lot, but let’s put it perspective. Remember all of those stolen bases last year where the runner was safe by just a split second, and you though to yourself, “Ugh! I thought I had him!” Guess what, shave a tenth off of your throw, and now all of those runners are probably out. How big of an effect would that have had on your season?

The great thing is that most of the changes we made were simply allowing his body to do more than one thing at a time, tightening up the process and getting him further along in the throw earlier.

For years, as a player and a coach, I have heard of this strange idea that in order to throw well, we had to get into a “good throwing position”. To this day, I still have no idea what that means. If you are getting into a “good throwing position” you are stopping in the middle of your throw. You are delaying release and forcing yourself to restart your throw halfway through the sequence. 

Let me be very clear. There is no such thing as a “good throwing position”. It does not exist. The best in the game do not get into a “good throwing position”. They don't stop. Neither should you. The key is making sure that your body isn’t moving in any direction that takes away from your ability to get the ball out of your hand effortlessly with max velocity. 

I will go into all of the ways catchers generally waste time during throws in an article due out in the near future, but for now you should all understand that if you aren’t getting to an athletically upright level, turning, making the exchange AND starting your stride forward all at the same time, your going to hear the word “SAFE!” considerably more often than you should. Let those movements overlap, one move leaking into the next. Never stopping the process and you’ll throw out more runners. 

Catchers, the throw is a process, not a position. Keep it moving.

Thanks for reading this Month’s Tip of the Month! 

February 2017 - Tip of the Month

How to take 2 tenths of a second off your pop-time in 2 tenths of a second!




Now that I got your attention, I have to apologize. There is no possible way anyone could give you a way to take 2 tenths of a second off your pop time in just 2 tenths of a second. It’s not possible. It takes a lot of time and focused energy building the muscle memory necessary to make that type of improvement. This will not be what this month’s tip of the month will be about. Why, you might ask? Very simple. Listen very clearly. Pop. Times. Don’t. Matter.

Now if I were some run of the mill Joe Schmo telling you this, you would laugh me out of the room. But I am hoping that whatever respect I’ve earned from you that lead you to subscribe to this newsletter will buy me just a moment to explain myself.

I’ve been an MLB scout for the last 6 seasons and have built up relationships and earned the respect of some of the best college coaches, both baseball and softball, in the country.  I point this out, not to pat myself on the back, I assure you. I do so to point out the fact that the person you all strive so hard to impress, the person holding the stopwatch. I’m one of them. 

And I can tell you right now that the throw you just made at the showcase with no batter in the box, no runner running to 2B, cheating up out of your crouch… it meant very little to me. And that goes for many of the college coaches and scouts you are hoping to blow away with your fake 1.9 throw. 

Does that throw give me a glimpse into your potential as an athlete? Sure it does. Does it allow me to gauge arm strength? Yup. Does it prove to me anything other than you are really good in practice? Nope, it does not. 

I will ask the same question over and over again. What can you do in a game?

We get asked constantly why we don’t time pop-times during our camps. It seems that this is the one thing folks want over everything else. And it’s absolutely baffling. Whatever methodology you subscribe to when it comes to throwing from behind the plate. None of it will make you faster until you put in the work to own the approach. Are some changes going to have a very immediate impact  on your ability to lower your pop-time? I would surely hope so. But, will those changes translate in a game environment? Not a chance. That’s not how your brain works. 

Your brain needs time to reprogram the neural pathways to adopt a different physiological response when a runner takes off from 1B. That will not happen during one of our camps. 

You might now be asking yourself why any of you should attend our camp if you are trying to improve your in-game pop-time? Well, it’s very simple. We can give you the one magic tool that will lead to the largest possible drop in your pop-time… information

Not just any information, but information that will give you a mechanical advantage over all of the other catchers who are trying to get the ball to 2B faster than you. 

It’s truly up to you to do something with it and only that will lead to an improvement in your in-game pop time and the number of runners you successfully keep from making you look bad. 

Catchers, remember, if you can’t repeat what you did in practice in a game, it doesn't matter. It also mean you’re not practicing enough. 

JANUARY 2017 - Tip of the Month

Can You Hear Me Now?


First off, I hope everyone is enjoying a great start to 2017! We've been a bit busy over the last few months and I apologize that you haven't heard from us more often. 

2017 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting for us in our program's history, and now that this year is in full swing we can get back on track with our Tips of the Month.

The first Tip of the Month for 2017 deals with a few things we talk about a lot at our camps and on our site. Communication and leadership. 

Leadership comes in many forms, and leading by example with a quiet confidence is certainly one way to lead your team. However, from behind the plate, quiet is not a part of our vocabulary. As catchers it's important to realize that being vocal on the field is an incredibly important part of our game. We have a view that is matched by none, and the ability to affect plays simply with our direction from behind the dish. If our teammates cannot hear us, we aren't able to do our job. That job includes letting teammates know where the play is happening, how many outs there are before every new batter, where the throw needs to go and letting teammates know where they need to be positioned.

One of the biggest reasons catchers don't speak up is because they are afraid of making the wrong decision or call on the field. Let this be a challenge to all of you coaches out there. If your catcher makes a decision and can back it up at all, regardless of the outcome of that decision, applaud them don't discipline them for being wrong. 

Certainly understanding what the right and wrong decisions are is important, but indecisiveness driven by fear is not something that is going to lead to sound situational decision making... ever. Make sure that your catchers know they have the right to make the call they feel they need to make at that exact moment. Whether it's throwing to 2B on a bunt, thinking that they had a shot at the runner there, or calling for a cut to a base other than home plate because they didn't think they had a shot at the runner who was heading home behind them. It's important that development of critical thinking on the baseball or softball field is a focus, but that attribute cannot mature when stunted with fear of failure. 

On that same note catchers, do not be afraid of being wrong. Make a decision, make a call, and stick by it. Reflect on that call after the inning and determine whether you need to make an adjustment the next time that situation comes around. But do not fail to communicate clearly to your teammates because you are worried about making the wrong decision.

Development of ALL skills should be the focal point of every game that you play until you have left high school. Be loud on the field. Be quick with your decisions. And learn from your mistakes.

We hope you enjoyed this month's Tip of the Month! Keep an eye out for plenty more from us as 2017 rolls on! 





OCTOBER 2016 - Tip of the Month

There are so many differing opinions when it comes to technique behind the plate. That much is true. What is also true is that for years the information surrounding the position grew stagnant. Nothing new to report; same 'ole, same 'ole. Complacency of any kind, let alone in the game of baseball or softball, is incredibly maddening to me. After all, I have always tried to seek out "the best way" when it comes to the information we give to our students and clients at every level of the game. So many others are reserved to what they "know" and what worked for them. That approach will stymie informational growth in our game, not stimulate it. We need to look at what we all thought that we knew and question it all at every turn. Attempt to poke holes in what we were taught to help us give the best information to the players in front of us. 

This month's tip of the month is about one of the misconceptions that has largely been viewed as fact. The reality is that it's far more "Trick" than "Treat".

There's this old adage - "A deep exchange will speed up your release". I am not sure where it started, or who coined the approach, but I would like to, for once and for all, abolish this monstrosity of a technique from our brains. 

The idea is simple. Let the pitch travel at pitch speed longer and the ball will get to where it needed to go, which was assumed to be by our ear, faster. This will allow us to save time since the pitch at 85MPH in Baseball or 58MPH in Softball travels much faster than our glove arm ever could.

I just described that in a way that might make you nod your head and say "yeah, that makes sense". Here's the thing....No it does not! It doesn't even remotely describe what actually happens in an elite throw/throwing pattern. But it's easy to sell because people largely want to assume that the info their hearing from a respected coach/player is factual and will help their catcher. But, it's unfortunately not. It's no fault to them. They are regurgitating what was told to them from their coach, which was told to them from their coach, and so on, and so on and.....you get the point. 

Let's forget for a moment that I actually do NOT want to pull the ball to my ear, since this forces me to spin around the ball during the throw, creating inefficiency while adding a significant amount of stress to the wrong parts of our body. Let's forget about all of that. 

In fact, let's assume it actually worked. It did what they all said it would and allowed us to throw sooner. In order for us to actually take advantage of that theory, letting the ball travel pitch speed longer, here's what we'd have to do - WE HAVE TO CATCH THE BALL BY OUR EAR!

No catcher in the history of the game has ever caught a pitch at their ear and truly let a pitch travel pitch speed to that point. If they did, more often than not, they would get drilled in the head over and over again since we would lose the ability to track the ball into the glove and any miscalculation would result in taking a blow to the dome. 

I have actually heard coaches refer to the best in MLB using this technique and I am not sure that we are watching the same game. 

Salvador Perez, James McCann and Jonathan Lucroy were the top three in CS percentage in Major League Baseball in 2016. Let's take a look at their exchange point. 






Not one of these guys is making a deep exchange. The three best in the Big Leagues....not one doing what a lot of coaches will tell you is the fastest way to get rid of the ball. All three making the exchange in the middle of their chest under their chin. 

By making the exchange at the middle of the body, we achieve balance. We also give ourselves the ability to begin our throwing motion sooner. I don't want to make the exchange deep and wait to start throwing. I want to begin throwing the moment I am turned and have control of the ball in the throwing hand. We should begin our throw from our mitt. The moment the hands are separating, I'm throwing. I do not want to pull the ball to my ear. I want my hands separating from my middle, the arms to work behind me while I open into the throw, and the forearm, wrist, hand and ball to fall behind my head as my hips turn open while striding forward into the throw. This is what will get me to layback and allow my arm to whip forward to release, taking advantage of the resistance I am creating with my lower body. By getting the ball into my throwing hand sooner, I allow myself to get rid of the ball sooner. 

Hope you enjoyed this Tip of the Month!

September 2016 - Tip of the Month

"You Can ONLY Control Yourself"

Due to the move to Charlottesville, VA (read more about that HERE), September’s Tip of the Month is a bit delayed, but I can assure you the message is incredibly important for any catcher looking to improve their ability behind the plate and their approach to the game as a whole. 

This past weekend I had a student of mine in for a lesson. He’s a sophomore in HS, and has one of the best work ethics I have ever seen. That being said, this student has some work to do to get to the level he wishes to play at. That’s certainly not to say he isn’t extremely proficient at the position, just that he has a lot of work to do, like everyone else looking to play at the next level. 

In the middle of our lesson he asked me a question that made the hair on my arm stand up. “Coach, there’s a freshman this year that everyone thinks is going to make varsity this year. What do I do about that?”

My jaw dropped. “Huh?!?!” I replied. He said again, "I don’t know what to do about him, everyone thinks he’s that good. What do I do?”

This is a very common situation that comes up for many of you catchers. You put in the time, you do the work, and at the end of the day some other catcher is getting all the praise and they threaten your playing time.

There are a few reasons this question bothered me so much, but just one that stands out above all of them. No matter what anyone else does to earn their spot and playing time, the only thing any one of us can ever control is what we do ourselves. The moment we start thinking about what other people think about someone else, that’s the very moment we’ve lost. 

We cannot waste time or energy thinking about things that are out of our control. We cannot control what a coach thinks about another catcher. We cannot control the work someone else is putting in to beat us out of a job. We cannot control any of that. The only thing we can control is what we do to earn our spot. 

That is what I told this student. His job, and any one else in this situation, is to find out why people think that catcher is better and put in more work in those areas. Get better today than you were yesterday. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day, as unfortunately as it may be, that other catcher may very well be more talented than you. But it’s your job to put in the work to get better. 

Catchers, the only person you should ever measure yourself against is who you were yesterday. The second you start to consider the things you can’t control is the second you’ve lost another step to the other catcher. 

Thanks for reading this month's Tip of the Month! 

AUGUST 2016 - Tip of the Month

"No Whining"


To say that I watch a lot of video every year is a gigantic understatement. However, even I can miss things from time to time. Such was the case with this clip from a Reds/Nationals game in early June. 

Now let me preface by saying that I think Tucker Barnhart is a probably a great guy, a good catcher, and someone who has clearly worked insanely hard to achieve his dreams. I certainly don't think this one play defines who he is as a person or a catcher. But, we all make mistakes, and this was one of his. 

In that moment, a bit of immaturity snuck to the surface and Barnhart's frustration with himself for not making the initial force out at home cost his team another run. His antics cost him a full second which he could have spent retrieving the ball. It's only fitting that the second run that scored, was only safe by a third of that time. 

Catchers, there is no whining in baseball or softball. You cannot let your emotions get in the way of you doing your job. If you make a mistake on the field, do whatever you can to not compound the mistake and turn it into a larger one. We have to be able to keep a level head on the field and react instinctively to situations, even our own errors. 

If you want to spend some time after the inning or after the game reflecting on the mistake, finding a way to never let it happen again, by all means go for it. That's a productive use of time. But are you allowed to sulk over your mistake and the harm it did your team? Not a chance. And certainly not in the middle of a play. 

I am positive Barnhart learned from this mistake, and I'd imagine he's a better catcher for it. We all are going to make mistakes. It's a huge part of our game. But we can't let it affect our ability to be there for our team. 

Thanks for reading this month's Tip of the Month!