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Catching - Framing

Just Outside

Framing an inside pitch

Unless you setup outside, you will need to catch the ball backhanded. As you reach across and backhand the ball, catch it and again turn your wrist in toward the center of the plate. Catch the ball and give back towards yourself framing the pitch as you do. Keep the motion smooth. If you setup outside and sway, you may be able to catch this pitch without having to reach much across your body. This will give the impression that the ball is closer to the plate than if you have to reach a long way. Of course, the first priority is to catch it cleanly, so don't try to be too fine, especially with runners on base.

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The image above is an example of setting up on the outer half of the plate and using a slight sway. Here a pitch that is just off the outside corner has been framed over the plate without much arm movement.

Outside

Framing an inside pitch

On the pitch that is farther outside, use the same sway technique that you use on the inside pitch described on page 1.

The picture above shows another example of the difference that can be made by setup and swaying.

In example 1, the catcher is setup in the center of the plate and doesn't sway to the pitch but reaches only with his arm. Once the ball is caught, the attempt to frame still leaves the glove off the plate, with a lot of arm movement.

In example 2, the catcher has setup a couple of inches to the outside. As the pitch comes in he has swayed his upper body toward the pitch. Even though he still has to reach for the pitch, the movement is not as drastic as in the first example. After catching the pitch the catcher has started to sway his body back. This and a turn of the wrist allows him to frame a pitch that is a few inches off the plate over the outside corner of the plate. Again, the movement is smooth. By effectively swaying and framing the pitch, you can often stretch the strike zone. Something your pitcher will appreciate.

Player Tip

As has been mentioned several times in this section, framing should be a smooth motion that gives an illusion. I often see young catchers that jerk their glove to the center of the plate after each pitch. All this does is teach the umpire to disregard the position of the glove after the ball is caught. Instead of creating an illusion and allowing the umpire to double check by looking at your glove, he will have to make the call based on his first impression. This type of "framing" can be a detriment to the pitcher rather than a benefit.

 

High

The high pitch can be difficult to frame since the umpire has a good view as it comes in. I instruct my catchers to minimize the movement to the wrist when framing this pitch. The reason is that I don't want the umpire to clearly see my catcher drop his arm 2 or 3 inches after catching the ball. We may not get this pitch to be called a strike, but I want the umpire to get the impression that the catcher is keeping the glove where he has caught the ball. This will hopefully help us out on other borderline pitches.

To frame this pitch, move your wrist forward to drop the top of your glove down as you catch the ball.

Low

This pitch is difficult to frame because even if you frame the pitch the umpire may not be able to see your glove. On this pitch, how you catch the ball is more important than how you frame it afterward. Anytime you catch the ball with your glove pointing straight down, you are giving the impression that the ball is low. Obviously this can't be avoided on some pitches, but on that borderline pitch just below the knee, try to catch the ball with your arm horizontal to the ground.

It's Already A Strike

When catching a ball that is already a strike, simply turn your glove slightly in toward the middle of the plate as you catch it. Don't move your arm and your movement shouldn't be extreme. The reason you frame the pitch is so you don't train the umpire that the only time you turn your glove is on a ball. Another reason to frame a strike is to increase the chance of a ball on the corner being called a strike rather than a ball.


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