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!