Catcher calling pitches.

Discussion in 'Softball Catcher Discussions' started by lewam3, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. default

    default Guest

    I wanted to start this thread based on some comments made on the wristband discussion. My daughter pitches on a 97 team. Her catcher calls the pitches and so far they have been successful. She is very confident calling the pitches and seems to know how to set up batters. DD prefers it as well because the flow of the game is a lot smoother, pace is better.
    I feel that the coach should have a role calling pitches here and there, but having the catcher take responsibility at this age seems natural (U14) Thoughts on this subject?
  2. default

    default Guest

    Catchers and pitchers should call the game together. They know better what the field conditions are like, how the batter is set up in the box, what pitches may or may not be working and they will control the game, not the coaches. And if you are wondering how can they learn how to call a game, here is some help:
  3. default

    default Guest

    In travel ball, I think a catcher should be calling every pitch - period. If she is not sure what to call, she should be able to glance over to her coach for a hint. It's a learning process, and if the coach never lets his catcher call pitches, how is she to learn to think for herself? A smart and experienced catcher can make a good pitcher look fantastic. The best way to learn those skills is in game situations against skilled batters with a coaches hints and encouragement. If the catcher is struggling, there should be teaching moments between innings. Travel ball is about preparing for the college level, and catchers will become robotic and second guessers if they are under the guidance of a controlling "win at all costs" coach.

    From 13u travel ball until college, DD's catcher had the green light to call pitches in the scenario I described. DD also had the green light to shake off a pitch. The system worked great. Both learned a lot about how to set up batters, which helped them both tremendously in college ball.

    Now - fast forward to college, which is an entirely different animal than summer travel ball. A head college coach has a lot more at stake, and is naturally going to be a little less liberal about letting her catcher call pitches - OR allowing a pitcher to shake off pitches. Depending on the coach and catcher, it varies from program to program. Some college coaches, regardless of how good the catcher thinks they are at calling pitches, will never let catchers call a game.

    Regardless of the situation come college, a catcher will become MUCH smarter by being forced to make tough decisions, and controlling the game. My suggestion is for travel coaches to "put down the joystick" and don't control your catchers. Teach them that part of the game, and you can sit on a bucket in the dugout and smile.
  4. default

    default Guest

    My dd is a pitcher and she is adamant that she and the catcher can handle the pitch-calling. There was one game when she was a 1st year 14U pitcher and she just shut down a team once she found they couldn't adjust to her drop ball.
  5. default

    default Guest

    My DD is a 97' BD as well and has had plenty of success calling her own games. Her and her pitchers get a good flow going and run with it. She did have a hard time last year when it was taken out of her hands, but she worked with it and still grew from the experience. Once again this year she will have control and work within a set game plan. Some travel coaches just can't let go and trust in these young ladies to do what we teach them. If you look these are the same teams that look into the dugout with fear with every error or close play.
  6. default

    default Guest

    Thats a tough call,especially at an early age.
    -yes,catchers should learn and control the game-helps for her college future?
    -If pitcher can't be touched by batters,makes it easy for anyone calling pitches?
    -Maybe work with her and in certain games let her call game to get experience?If so,have her sign to the coach 1st so coach can log and go over pitches called between innings and educate or compliment her?
    -Coach and cather should already have a history together so the catcher know coaches game before being aloowed to call her own game.Now if the catcher and pitcher are more qualified than the coach-no brainer?
    -Should we start adding more classroom/blackboard practices?
    Cons could be:
    -if not going well,will it destroy catchers confidence if coach takes over?
    -Coach may be tracking pitches to every batter and a catcher may not remember every batters at bat?She has a lot of game to control already?
    -Maybe a situation where catcher wants to call a pick-off at 3rd but coach knows that there are 2 outs and the next batter has 3 K's already?Catcher could get over zealous at an inopportune time?
    -Maybe #2 pitcher is in now and catcher hates her wicked drop ball and doesnt want to field one in the dirt and stays away from pitchers best pitch?Or calls dropball in a drop 3rd situation?
    -Defense better be well eduacated with reading pitch calls/what happens if a certain pitch is hit since coach wont be able to adjust defense themselves?
    -Will a pitcher have more tendency to check off a pitch knowing it isn't coming from the coach?
    -If game not going well,will it cause friction between the catcher and pitcher?

    Softball is to be fun and educational but winnning is fun also.Hate to have players and fans think pitcher stinks if it falls some what on pitches called.Then there could be drama with pitchers/catcher and thier parents-maybe coach should take more fault if a bad called game than a teenage girl?
  7. default

    default Guest

    Calling a game is a difficult thing to master but the catcher needs to learn how to do it.
    Coaches have the benefit of a score keeper next to them to tell them what the batter did last AB, pitch selection, advice from other coaches and the ability to move the D.

    I think 14U is the best age for catchers to start learning how to call pitches and working on the mental side of the game... with guidance from the coach.... Under 14 the players need to work on mastering the physical side of catching or pitching.When a player starts calling games at 16/18 they are two years behind in the communication and critical thinking needed to call a game effectively and they have lost two years of valuable experience.

    Having the opportunity to make a mistake at 14 can improve the players growth.
    In most peoples opinion the early years are the foundation of the fundamentals needed to be successful.
    If a player makes a mistake and is coached to understand what went wrong and how best to handle the situation the next time it arrives the player has made steps towards the end goal for all pitchers/catchers in understanding how to attack specific hitting styles but, also in understanding the other aspects of the game that control pitch selection and it takes several years to get good at it.
  8. default

    default Guest

    I use to think it was the coaches responsiblity until I went to the the Hawks coaching clinic and listening to Deb Hartwig speak. What she said made sense.

    So last year, when my dd also played rec, I coached. She was 11 and my catcher was 12u. My catcher also played travel. I gave her and my dd a chart to study to know how/where a batter stood along with what type of swing. We discussed the chart during our practice sessions before the games started.

    Right before they started I told the catcher for the first couple of weeks, pay attention to the pitches I call. Don't change it. She did it, and we did fine. I told her the next couple of weeks, I had her call the last inning of a game, and she did fine. Halfway through the season, I gave her the green light to call off the pitches that I called if she saw something different along with increasing her pitch calling for the last two innings.

    Last two weeks of the season, she called the game. We won some and lost some. She gained confidence in the calling game and felt more ready to move up to 14U.
  9. default

    default Guest

    I'd let any catcher call her own game once I'm confident they know how and reason "why" to react to situations. I believe it takes a long time for catchers to understand the differences but a good line of communication between coach and catcher can speed the learning curve.

    Pitchers have too much to worry about to execute and in the big picture should not micromanage the game. Share the information with the catcher and coach what she feels good about throwing and if there's a pitch she's not confident in at the moment. Let the catcher and coach decide how to use her tools for the better of the team effort.

    I start to feel confident in a catcher when they come in the dugout after an inning and can answer questions and reason about "why" we ended up with a situation. When I hear a catcher share with me the pitch she called that I can understand the reasoning and she admits it didn't work or tells me the pitcher threw it somewhere other than what she wanted, I know that young lady has grown enough inside to understand the differences.

    It takes time and won't happen in a single game but confidence will grow in all parties when you start to pursue this aspect of the game.
  10. default

    default Guest

    More often than not, it's not a bad pitch call by the pitcher/catcher/coach in any given situation, it's the location of the pitch that is the problem. I've seen this scenario so many times: Coach is calling the pitches, an out is made, and the coaches congratulate each other. Also, coach is calling the pitches, the batter wins the battle, and the coaches tell the pitcher she needs to hit her spots.

    Sammy is correct. Many college coaches have pitches called for the catcher because they have more at stake. It's not because they don't trust the catcher, they just feel more comfortable controlling their own destiny. I also agree with Sammy that pre-college the catchers/pitchers should call the game because it makes them think on their own and they probably are more focused on the task at hand.

  11. default

    default Guest

    Ugh, not this again!!! :D
    Catchers should call their own games no matter what their age. If they don't know how, teach them. If they cannot get it and just don't understand, then they shouldn't be catching. It's their game, we are just supposed to be guiding them not taking over. The girls are alot smarter than we give them credit for, let them call their own games!!!!
  12. default

    default Guest

    I would say it depends on the catcher and how much confidence the Coach has that the catcher will not be lazy or afraid to call pitches that might make the catcher work (as someone pointed out- the drop or drop curve) need a good relationship between pitcher and catcher
  13. default

    default Guest

    Confused ??
    I have talked to many college coaches about this and most of them call the game. If this is such a great idea why don't they have there catchers call the game ????
  14. default

    default Guest

    14u - catcher calls the game with the coach having the override option. Catching is the most critical position on the field. Coaches need to spend a great deal of time at the younger ages teaching them how to understand the game situations and how calling pitches effects things.

    The agruement is always that some HS coaches and many college coaches call pitches. College coaches have a ton of data on hitters and situations. Sometimes they do know best! That is not relevant in travel softball. Calling pitches is not simply a matter of getting the batter out, or preventing offensive plays from being successful. Calling pitches at a young age develops the softball intelect of the catcher - because again she is the glue on the field. She will know the pitchers better than the coaches in game (pitchers sometimes will not tell the coach everything - but the catcher knows whats working).

    While college coaches may call the pitches in their games - they do like seeing catchers calling the game when they are recruiting.
  15. default

    default Guest

    Because it involves their money and they demand control.....plain and simple and nothing really to be confused about.

    WWolff...Why is it not a great idea to become a student of the game?

  16. default

    default Guest

    Totally agree. When you get to college, you have coaches with game film on opposing batters and 1-4 years of notes from previous games, with that kind of information the coach has earned the right to call the game.

    Catchers need to call their own game pre-college and IMO they are never too young to start. What is the downside of your 10U catcher calling the game? If she doesn't call what you want her to call, then teach her in between innings, or alternate innings with her calling and you calling until she gets comfortable.
  17. default

    default Guest

    "The agruement is always that some HS coaches and many college coaches call pitches. College coaches have a ton of data on hitters and situations. Sometimes they do know best! That is not relevant in travel softball. "

    So I guess in travel ball the assumption is that travel teams do not collect data on players, teams and situations. Maybe I am alone but I chart hitters and collect a lot of data so the next time we face them we know what is successful and what is not, giving our pitchers a greater chance of success. I guess we could always give a wristband to the catchers like the nfl quarterbacks use before each game with hitters tendencies so they know what to call. j/k of course....
  18. default

    default Guest

    I think more then anything it is that they can manage the game better, and have all the stats.

    Just because you call pitches does not make you a student of the game. I have seen pitch calling win and lose games.
  19. default

    default Guest

    Lenski, you nailed it. Twice. (Plus the comment about coaches wanting control - but I'm not smart enough to insert two "quotes")

    Too many times we've seen coaches yell at the pitcher when things go wrong. 'Not a good confidence builder.

    I think it's important that the catcher learns how to call pitches, especially when they're the one behind the plate who can tell what pitches are working on any given day. If the curveball ain't curvin' today, she won't call it. Where the coach in the dugout might - because "my pitcher has a curveball"...

    Start instructing catchers what situations warrant which pitches. Start early - as soon a young pitcher can control her spots.
  20. default

    default Guest

    Exactley learn how. Problem is 90 0/0 of the coaches that let there catchers call the game don't train them how to.

Share This Page