Catching may be the most demanding position in baseball, both physically and mentally. To be a quality catcher, you need to know more than how to catch the ball and how to throw the ball to second, you need to know the game of baseball. When we talk about knowing baseball, we mean knowing it as a coach tries to know it. As the catcher, you're the onfield coach. You have the entire field in front of you. Your team depends on you to make split second decisions that can determine runs vs. outs, wins vs. losses.
To illustrate this point we will set up a game situation:
What goes through the mind of the catcher before calling a pitch? Here are some possibilities:
After the pitch, the possibilities in just one play are numerous and the catcher must prepare to handle each of them.
A catcher likes being in the middle of the action, likes to think on his feet, and is not afraid of making split second decisions. Physical skills are also important, but a catcher who can handle the mental part of the position rises above the catcher with stronger physical skills.
Just take a look at the Major Leagues. Many catchers that start do not have greatest physical tools. You find better athletes sitting in the minor leagues. But these catchers have developed their physical tools to the point where they can make it at that level and have developed their mental skills to the point where they play over other players with better physical skills.
Prepare yourself to take charge. As the catcher you must be a strong leader. Catchers must know how to calm a pitcher who is upset about a certain call, an error made in the field, or his performance. In short, you have to handle the pitcher. You make sure he stays focused on the situation and the pitch he is about to throw. You must keep him focused and in the game. Even though pitchers are unique and you handle them differently, always show them that you have confidence in their ability to get the job done.
We hope this section will give you some of the information necessary to improve your ability to play this difficult position.