One of the most common skills that catchers are never taught much about is proper sign giving technique. What are supposed to be private conversations between a catcher and the pitcher are many times broadcasted for all to see. With a few subtle modifications in technique the process can be kept hidden from baseline coaches.
Here are a few guidelines.
- The sign giving position is the only receiving position where the catcher is up on the balls of his feet. When giving signs the catcher’s knees should never be more then 2-hands widths apart. Most young catchers have their knees spread way too far apart. Be sure that before the catcher gets down into his sign giving position the outside of his feet are no wider then his hips. As he lowers himself down his knees should stay pointed right at the pitcher, not flair wide open up the baselines.
- Many catchers do not have their right hand deep enough when they give the sign. Tell them the middle knuckle of the right thumb should rest against the inseam of their pants. Their thumb should then press back against their cup. This keeps it deep and behind their thigh.
- Their right forearm should rest comfortably on their upper thigh. Only their fingers should move. When a catcher is trying to signal location many do so by moving their entire hand against the inner thigh. A sharp coach will watch the catchers right elbow and will clearly see if the pitch is to be to the right or left. Direction should be signaled with fingers only. Fastball away to right handed batter should be: index finger down to signify fastball, then baby finger points to right inner thigh. No clue has been given that a 1 st base coach can see.
- This is one more area that a catcher needs to learn to be “quiet” No extra motion with the forearm that may give away the pitch or location.