March 2016 - Tip of the Month
"DON'T DROP ANCHOR"
One of the most common problems that catchers encounter while blocking is improper sequence. Certain parts of the body needs to move to the ground in a very specific order to ensure that we put ourselves in the best possible spot to block the pitch.
All too often, catchers make the cardinal mistake of letting their lead knee drop to the ground first. The problem is that once we drop the lead knee, we prevent ourselves from continuing in that lateral direction. We are "anchored" to that spot.
We leave ourselves with little to no adjustability, and we are likely unable to close the edge to direct the ball to the ground back towards the middle of the field.
If our lead knee hits the ground before our trailing knee, it becomes very difficult to align our middle with the ball, and often results in the ball squirting off to the side.
Above is an example of what it looks like when it is done correctly.
The catcher leads the block with his hands to ensure that his middle will end up in line with the ball (the glove touching the ground tells the brain where to go and when to stop), the back knee chases the glove to the ground to enable the catcher to use it as a pivot point, and the lead knee drives forward to complete the turn of the body back towards the middle of the field.
Keep in mind, our goal should not simply be to stop the ball, but to CONTROL it. Controlling the ball after a block is what will give a catcher the ability to change the game. Potentially by keeping a run from scoring, but also by preventing a runner from advancing to the next base.
Now, should anyone be able to notice the order that each body part hits the ground in a game? No chance. These are overlapping movements that should result in a very smooth but quick progression to the ground. Maintaining this sequence, though, is imperative to a successful block.
Catchers, pay attention to how you get your body to the ground during a block. By ensuring proper sequence, you will keep control of your body and the ball.
Thanks for reading this month's "Tip of the Month"!