catchers mask ....on or off?

Discussion in 'Softball Catcher Discussions' started by larrybowman, Aug 31, 2012.

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    Curious what everyone thinks? Should the catcher leave the mask on or throw it off on a high pop? Opinions please. I've heard it told both ways. Just wondering what the thoughts on this are.:confused:
     
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    I also have seen both, heard arguements for both. I would say what best serves the individual catcher. I tried to work over a year for my dd to pull off, with them mindset of better vision of the ball. I gave up. She states she is more comfortable with it on since that is how she "plays her position".
    Considering she is the one behind the plate, I kept my mouth shut (at least about that subject! :lmao:) from then on...
    I also realize I have ALOT to still learn...she is 11u!
     
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    Dd is 11U and I teach her to leave it on. She says it is easier to leave on and like the safety with on on a play at the plate. Our other catcher throws hers off, but we are working on controlling where she throws it. She was taught just get it off and can get under feet. If you are going to take it off you must hold and discard away from play! I believe just a comfort thing. IMO hockey mask is made to keep on.
     
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    If you watch the game in compared to baseball there are two key differences...baseballs tend to go much higher leaving catchers plenty of time to take the mask off, locate the ball and then decide where to throw the mask out of their way. Softball pops typically do not go as high leaving less time to do the same. I say leave it on. The new masks are designed for better vision, leave it on and learn to catch with it on.
     
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    On.... Clear vision, lightweight, safety for collisions, you do not lose sight for the millisecond taking it off, you will not trip on it and best of all you won't break it tossing it all the time. Does your coach work the find the ball pop up drill with the kids on it? It takes practice, but once they get past the Aha moment, they never will toss it again...
     
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    On...
     
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    Depends on what kind of mask. The hockey style mask allows great peripherial vision and there is no need to remove it. With the old style helmet that is more round the peripherial vision is horrible and it is best to remove it, hold it until the ball is found and then throw it away from the ball and towards the backstop so they don't trip on it. My advise as a catching instructor is buy a hockey style mask and keep it on. Catching a pop up with a mask on isn't hard if it is practiced like any other skill.
     
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    Definitely on....for all of the comments made so far. When my daugther first started out, (and we were new to the sport as well) we were trying to teach her to throw it off, but she has the hockey style mask. It was just too hard for her to get off....a lot of times it would get stuck halfway and then she would really be in a jam. Now, after being around the sport I have seen masks get in the way. In addition, I don't think it's worth the risk of a head injury - granted I am a neurology nurse and see a lot of head injury patients, so I might be a tad overprotective sometimes lol I won't even let her warm up a pitcher without the mask.... ;&

    Did you see the Yadier Molina collision the other night? While I know it didn't occur on a pop-up and collisions aren't generally like this in softball, could you imagine how hurt this guy would have been had he thrown his mask off for whatever reason? I'll make sure my daughter keeps hers on...

    Yadier Molina injured in violent home plate collision - YouTube
     
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    On if they are using the hockey style, which most (all?) are. In baseball my son would tear off the mask and hold it "kind of high" until he knew where he was going then he would toss it the other way. Zero slow down. The advantage of taking even the hockey style mask off is that your head is bit more mobile but even then I vote to leave it on.

    And CERTAINLY leave it on during normal play to help out with collisions.
     
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    ON......
     
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    My dd takes her hockey style mask off if she has time. It's just her preference. I've told her that the hockey style mask was meant to stay on but she is more comfortable taking it off when possible. It's just her way.

    Len
     
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    On and that bugs grandpa (father-in-law) who was a baseball coach back in the stone age. So I love it on.
     
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    ON, must college camps we have attended it's taught to be on.
     
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    One of the differences in the 2 games is the coaches that are Gurus' of softball teach the catchers to leave the mask on ( NFCC course 403). The reasons have already been shared by the fine people leaving you a post on this thread. They don't want their catchers to be distracted by taking the mask off if they can see the ball. The exception to this is if they lose sight of the ball. Then they recommend removing the mask for better visibility but keep the mask in their hands till they locate the ball, then pitch the mask to an area away from the ball so they don't trip over it. I believe this is very valid and have lost my old baseball ways and taught all my catchers since to leave the mask on.
     
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    I teach my catchers to leave it on at all times especially with the "full-head" hockey style masks now available. I had a catcher several years ago take it off and then catch a knee in the head on a slide to home. She was knocked out and afterwards had a knot on her forehead the size of a baseball. I refuse to put "my" girls in jeaopardy for an out if at all possible. It is after all only a game. It's not supposed to be a possible life altering event.
     
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    Since I've never played behind the plate, and never played very well in front of it either :), I thought I'd ask my dd who is a catcher on a 14U team. She almost always takes her mask off. She hates, and she emphaized HATES, the hockey style masks. I guess she's old school, she uses the big round black style that looks kind of like a batting helmet with a catcher's mask. That's what she started with and although I've had her try on hockey-style helmets and she's had to wear them on occasion when hers broke, she prefers the old style.
    She loves catching and since she's the one doing it, not me, which ever she prefers on or off, is what I'll support. With that being said, she has (on more than one occasion) taken her mask off, thrown it, and then proceeded to step it in tripping and falling flat on her face. Now that I think about, it may have happened twice in one game before.:)
    But I think she's a decent catcher and she absolutely loves it, so I guess to answer your question (on or off), unless your daughter is just learning how to be a catcher, whichever way they feel comfortable and catch the most balls with is the way they should stick to.
     
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    I see most catchers leave their masks on. At times have seen pop ups where the ball hits the player in the mask. These newer hockey masks give a huge field of vision so might as well wear it. Similar to the thread on wearing protective gear such as rip-it mask, they make these masks for a reason so why not wear it. Getting back to the catcher throwing of her mask, saw catcher in 14u game she threw off her mask for a pop up in front of plate, did not catch ball and then threw down to first base. The girl on third base came home and the catcher had to make the play without her mask. The runner slid into home and was safe, but if there were a collision with the runner or bad throw to home plate the catcher could have gotten hurt.
     
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    Catch,
    read what you wrote and you think her decision is correct?? (more than one occasion and twice in a game?) I can honestly say mine left it on from 12 on through 18s and never stepped on it.....

    You may want to have her rethink it. She's only 14, work with he....

    worked with one kid this year on an 18 team and she stopped throwing it in two games. She'd break her helmet almost once a game and umps were getting any about it.
     
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