[Slow Motion Softball] Catcher Throwing Mechanics of D1 Fastpitch & Pro Baseball Catchers


– In today’s video, we’ve
got slow motion video of some softball catchers. So if you’ve been wanting to break down your own catching mechanics,
your own footwork, your own throwing mechanics
as a softball catcher, then today’s gonna be awesome because we got a bunch
of different catchers, all in slow motion, we got
500 frames per second footage. We’ve also got some baseball
players in slow motion, some Division I, and some pro guys, and all the softball players
are Division I players. So, got a lotta really
good instruction today. Stick around, if you’re
new to the channel, I’m Coach Dan Blewett. I’m a former pro baseball player. I do softball throwing
instruction, throwing drills, throwing mechanics, all that stuff, and I’m here to help you
learn more about the game and improve your arm strength. So the first catcher we’re
gonna go over is this one here. And so I’ve got all these
different side views. And we’re gonna go over
just a couple things and look at really what they do well. And not so much really focus on stuff that maybe they can improve on. So, number one, this is a
tough pitch to throw on, and she does a good job transferring it, and drawing her arm back. So one of the big things, especially if you’re new to my channel, one of the big things
that is really important in your throwing motion, is getting your throwing arm pulled back into a scapular pinch, into
a shoulder blade pinch. So if you watch her right here, as she breaks her hands from her glove, she does a really good job
of pulling her elbow back and that helps, sort of
connect your arms to your body. And that’s gonna give
you a lot more velocity and oomph on your throws. So, if you’re looking at one thing right here with this catcher, watch how she breaks her hands. It’s a common mistake
for softball catchers to break their hand up
and then really just lift their arm into this L position. But you can see, her throwing motion is pretty much back to front with her arm, and then she goes forward there. The other thing to note,
is the elbow angle. So, you’re gonna see the hardest throwers have a less than 90 degree angle, whether they’re infielders, catchers. Outfielders are gonna be
more close to 90 degrees, but infielders are almost always under 90. If you look at her elbow angle here, it’s probably either right at
90, or a little bit beyond it. So, that’s a little bit
of room for improvement, and we’re gonna see some other catchers that have that less than
90 degree angle as we go. Okay, so right here, we’ve got another catcher. You can watch the transfer, and on this one, let’s
really watch her elbow angle. So, reasonably strong throw here. And again, these are
all Division I catchers. As she brings it back,
and her feet transfer, you can see her elbow, again,
the hand breaks sort of down, so her palm is facing the ground. And then as she goes, the elbow’s, again, pulling back behind her body. That’s a really critical
component to throw well. Then, as her front side starts to rotate, you can see this joint
angle that she’s got is very different than the other catcher we just looked at. So she’s definitely less than 90, right? And the other thing
that’s really important, as we look beyond just
elbow and joint angles for softball catchers, is
what their front side does. So her front shoulders are
angled down a little bit, which is something that you can live with as an infielder or as a catcher. As an outfielder, it’s a little tougher, if you have that sort of
downward sloping shoulder, just because of how much
momentum you usually get when you’re actually running to field a ground ball or a fly ball. But it works here. But the big thing to really watch is, see how her glove arm is really, either moving at the exact
same time as her throwing arm, or it’s kind of leading the way and starting to rotate her body first, as her arms starts to come
around and go through. Now what I really like
about this catcher is that, she’s not only just rotating, but she’s moving her
body towards her target. So if you watch, she’s starting to produce this forward lean. We’re getting an angle here. She’s getting some forward lean and pushing her chest towards her target, which is just using your upper body to give you a little more momentum and velocity in the throw. Because if you use your
back, sort of arching back, and then moving forward, that’s an extra couple miles per hour, rather than just standing
straight up tall, like a statue. So she does a really good job of moving her chest towards second base. Which I think, just from a
logical standpoint, makes sense. The more of your momentum you can get going towards your
base, the better, right? This is a slightly different angle. Still, mostly side view. And I’m gonna let this one play. So let’s look at the transfer here. So just like the others, the glove hand’s moving back
to meet the throwing hand. The throwing hand’s not really going and getting the ball that much. And then again, we wanna
pull the elbow back. You’ll see a little more lift
in the throwing arm here. But, two things that I really
like that this catcher does, is the thing we just touched on, or actually both the
things we just touched on, which are elbow joint angle. So as we go through here, you can see, elbow’s a little
bit less than 90, right? You can also see the
glove arm leading the way. So as that glove arm starts to fold down, throwing arm is thrown back. And that’s just like sorta the pattern, the way that the body, the
front side starts to rotate, and the arm gets thrown back. So that’s important. A lot of softball catchers who don’t have really strong arms, they don’t get their front
side going fast enough, and that’s really a big problem. The other thing I like
that this catcher does, is she moves her chest
towards second base. So you can see, pretty pronounced, she’s really getting her body into it. And using her momentum and pushing everything
out towards center field. And one of the ways that
manifests itself is, you can see she has a
tall, straight front leg, and that’s also another really good thing. So when the front leg is
braced, which is just stiff, then all that energy transfers over it, sort of like a pole vaulter. So, also a good job. And then the last softball catcher here, has the strongest arm, I think by far, of the ones I saw. And she does a lot of things really well. So let’s watch her. And there’s one thing I wanna know, we’ll come back to it in her footwork, that you’ll also see
with the baseball guys we’re gonna look at in a second. So again, she’s bringing the glove towards her other hand. And that was obviously on
her glove side of her body, so she had a little
farther ways to go for it. But, gets her body closed really well. And you’ll see pretty
much all the elements that we talked about before in her throw. So let’s go back and break
those down real quick. So, she’s bringing her glove to her hand. Obviously her hand’s coming
in there ’cause again, that’s all the way on the
other side of her body, so it’s a tougher pitch to throw on. But, first thing to look
at, watch her weight shift. So as the pitch is coming in, her weight’s kind of 50,
50, but more on her left. And then watch how she
really shifts her weight into her left leg here. So she loads it up, so all of that weight now, is on this leg. And now, that makes it
easier for her right leg to move first as she starts her footwork. Which the footwork for this
throw is really simple. It’s right to left, and
then left to target, right? So, as she loads her
left leg up with weight, and she starts to shift it
over there and stand up, the right ankle moves
towards her left ankle, and then the left ankle
moves towards the target. And then in this position, she does a lotta really
good things really well. Her arm’s actually not
as high as it appears, just for the pull behind her body, but, chest is facing slightly back, so actually rotated away from her target. That’s called getting good
shoulder hip separation. And she’s also really well closed. So closed means your chest
is not facing your target, like my chest is open
to the camera right now. But rather, closed is this position, where your chest is faced perpendicular, away from your target. So she does a really good job there, where her hips are
actually starting to angle towards her target. And then watch her glove arm, her glove arm is gonna be
the first thing that moves. See how that starts her motion,
her arm hasn’t moved yet? The glove starts her motion,
starts rotating her hips, she’s got that less than 90
degree joint angle at her elbow. And then, arm goes back and forward and she’s really moving her
body towards her target, right? You can see her making that long angle, this is like almost 45 degree angle, as she really pushes her weight and her momentum towards second base. And then the last thing we talked about, the front leg really
straightening and bracing. She does an awesome job at that too. So, I watched her throw in the game, and I think she threw
at least one runner out, but really strong arm and you
can definitely see it here. So I’ll let this play one last time. Okay, so let’s look at a
couple baseball examples. So here we have a Division
I baseball player. And, so let’s kinda watch
him in the same vein that we just watched the softball player. Watch his legs as the pitch is coming in. See how his knee is almost
reaching towards the target? That’s him shifting his
weight into his left leg, just like the last softball player did. Again, he’s reaching the glove
to the hand, not vice versa. And then it’s right to left, so the right foot towards the left, and then the left to target. And with him, you’ll see
he breaks his hand down, elbow’s pulling back. It looks a little deceptive,
like he’s lifting it, but really it’s going behind his body. He’s definitely got a little bit of lift, but not as much as it appears. And then, you can see that joint angle is definitely less than 90
degrees, more like 50 or 60. Okay, so, I’ll let it play from here. And then again, he’s gonna do a good job creating some angle, not as much as the last
two softball players, but he’s getting some
angle towards second base. So, overall, you’ll see a lot
of this same stuff, right? Baseball and softball. Okay, now we’re gonna watch, we’ll end with two pro guys, so these are both pro baseball players. So this one is a Triple-A player. So obviously, the second highest
level to the Major Leagues. This video’s not quite as
slow as the other ones. But, if you watch him, again, you’re gonna see the same thing, shifting his weight into his left leg to kinda help him cheat, brings the ball, or brings
his glove to his hand, and then it’s right to
left, left to target, elbow’s pulling back, he’s got that less than
90 degree joint angle. And again, you’ll see his
glove arm starts the motion. And then, the arm gets thrown
back and thrown forward. Front leg really strong, right? Well I’ll just play it
all the way through. And he’s got a really
stiff, strong front leg. So again, you see similarities,
baseball and softball, there’s really no difference. Obviously softball players
will throw from their knees a little more than maybe
the baseball guys might, but as far as mechanics of a regular stand up and throw down, they’re very, very similar. All right, and the last one we’ll end on is another super slow one,
this is an end game throw. And you’re just gonna see, it’s gonna be a little more
hurried and a little more, sort of discombobulated, just because there’s an
actual hitter in there, an actual runner stealing in the game, and he can’t cheat as much. But you still see a little
bit of that cheat, right? So you see that left leg load up. But here, you’re not gonna see
the right leg move as much, it definitely still
does the same crow hop. And he’s got a lot more lift
than some of the other players, but he was also folded over, a little bit more than the others. So as we go back, we’ll go
back through here real quick. So if you watch him, his elbow’s coming behind his body, and it’s actually getting
really far behind. So again, this is the
one I was talking about, this is a little bit deceptive, because he’s forward over
a little bit at the waist, this elbow’s actually pulling
really far behind his body, it’s not lifting up over his
head as much as it appears. There definitely is some
lift above his head, but not as much as you think. And then, as he rotates, again, you see this less
than 90 degree elbow angle, you see his glove arm go first, and you see him try to get momentum, but it’s a lot harder with a runner and a hitter in the batter’s box, right? So, I’ll let that last
part play one more time. But still, looks like a
pretty quick, strong throw. You know, and this was a
Single-A pro baseball game. So, hopefully today’s video helped. Obviously, slow motion video for softball is a really important thing. There’s not much of it out there, that’s why I’ve been going
to games with my camera, trying to get footage
to break down for you because I think, number
one, seeing is believing. And there’s a lot of slow motion footage in the baseball world, but not nearly as much
in the softball world. So, hopefully breaking down some of the softball
catcher mechanics today was really helpful to you. And if you have a comment, question, leave it in the comments below. If you’re new to the channel, definitely share this video with a friend, especially with a fellow catcher or coach. And subscribe to the channel,
really appreciate it. Thanks for watching.

3 thoughts on “[Slow Motion Softball] Catcher Throwing Mechanics of D1 Fastpitch & Pro Baseball Catchers

  1. There are more videos like this on the way – Subscribe now so you don't miss any: https://www.youtube.com/c/SnapSoftball?sub_confirmation=1

  2. Great breakdown. There's not enough video breakdown of good throwing mechanics for position players in baseball and softball on youtube IMO. I'm glad you are helping to fill that niche.

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