Retrieving a Wild Pitch – Catcher techniques to GET THE OUT at home.


Wild pitches with a runner on 3rd are bound
to happen. How should a catcher retrieve a wild pitch
to give himself the best chance for an out? That answer coming up next. In this video we will cover the best way for
a catcher to retrieve and throw out a runner on a wild pitch as well as how the rest of
the team should be moving on this play rather than just standing still being spectators. Catchers can prevent passed balls. A passed ball is any ball that the catcher
should have reasonably caught. There really shouldn’t be any passed balls
in a game, but the catcher can’t control the pitcher throwing a pitch in the dirt or
way off target, and so no matter how good he is, wild pitches will still need to be
retrieved. When getting to a wild pitch that has gone
to the back stop or is a good distance away, a catcher should get to it as quickly as possible
and slide on his knees. He can either slide on both knees or just
his left knee depending on the situation.. The throw back to the pitcher should be quick
so the pitcher can catch the ball on the run and have it before he crosses into foul territory
or is in the path of the runner. The throw ought to be waist high to the pitcher,
but it’s better to miss high rather than low. Low throws get dropped and put the pitcher
in an awkward position to make a tag. Throws should be like darts, straight and
level. Throws that change height are difficult to
judge especially throws that go from high to low. A catcher should not stand to throw nor throw
underhand. Rather he should make his throw with a low
elbow and more side arm from his knees or off his right foot. The further the throw the more over the top
the throw will be, but getting rid of the ball quickly on a straight path to the pitcher
is key. Wild pitches that are close to the plate wouldn’t
require a knee slide. There are techniques for back hand flipping
balls near the 3rd base line and making kneeling throws on balls near the 1st base line that
are too close to require a slide, but we will have to cover those in another video. These retrievals should be practiced often
and typically catchers enjoy these drills as they are challenging and fun to practice. You can start by having balls already in place
and the catcher in his stance. Then on signal he will run to retrieve that
ball and make his throw. Since he already knows where the ball is and
it’s stationary, this will provide him a chance to work on his approach and basic mechanics
so he is in the best position to make a good throw quickly from different locations. It will take some practice to judge how to
best get to the ball and be in a good spot to throw. When picking up the ball in this situation,
the catcher should use the ground to push the ball into his hand rather than just trying
to grab at it. This will insure he has a good grip when he
does go to throw. It’s generally a good idea for a catcher
to practice this a couple times before each game on the new field when warming up a pitcher
or before the game if possible. Wet fields without a lot of clay will not
slide. The catcher’s knee will stick and he’ll
fall overtop of himself. It’s actually quite funny to see your catcher
slam into the fence in shock. Too bad it wasn’t caught on video. You can see these catchers during the LLWS
trying to get to the ball correctly and struggling with slipping or getting stuck. This field is likely much nicer than what
they are used to and it has a grass area where most these catchers likely never had that
before. These teams do infield/outfield before games,
although they don’t televise it, and that would be a good time for catchers to get at
least a few practices before each game to know how the field will work on knee slides
for a wild pitch. One run off a wild pitch can be the difference
between a win and loss. Finally, one more point. On any wild pitch with more than one runner
on base and a runner on 3rd, the first baseman needs to be backing up the throw to the pitcher. The 3rd baseman covers 3rd, short stop backs
up 3rd. The second baseman covers 2nd. The first baseman shouldn’t get too close
when backing up lest the ball get past him too. His only job is to keep the following runners
from advancing on the overthrow to the pitcher. This is routinely misplayed in youth baseball. Usually the 1st baseman is standing still
being a spectator and the shortstop rarely backs up the 3rd baseman. Let’s take a closer look at this play by
South Korea during the LLWS championship game. Now, I am not a fan of pointing out mistakes
by youth players publically, but this play is simply too perfect to demonstrate what
happens in most youth games and how to fix it. First we see the catcher retrieving and throwing
this ball wrong. The mechanics of bending over and standing
up to throw simply take too long. But it gets worse. From this overhead view at the time of the
catcher’s throw our first baseman is being a statue. The short stop is covering 2nd rather than
backing up a potential throw to 3rd. Runners can retreat, flowing runners can get
caught up. Throws to 3rd are not uncommon and missed
throws allow multiple runs to score in these situations. Here is a perfect example of what I mean. In another All Star game, runners on 1st and
3rd. The runner on 3rd scores easily, but when
we pause the play we again see that our first baseman is spectating, our shortstop and 2nd
baseman are also standing by watching. The only one anticipating the throw to 3rd
is our field umpire, god bless him, getting into position to make a good call. And we do see a throw to 3rd that is missed
and that second runner, all the way from 1st base, scores on a passed ball. Back to our original game. Here is the correct positions these players
should be in and in both of our examples had players practiced this situation and been
taught their roles, the second runs wouldn’t have scored.

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