Longstreth has asked Jaime Wohlbach, East Stroudsburg Softball Head Coach and Softball Catcher Trainer to share her expertise in the field for this blog. Jaime shares our passion for the game and commitment to women’s sports. She has been involved with every aspect of the game of softball – playing, coaching, training and has built a solid reputation both within the USA and internationally.
She’s been a catcher for many years so it was natural for us to ask her to share a few Drills for the Softball Catcher. From Jaime’s point of view, a softball catcher must be mentally, physically and fundamentally tough, and most important of all, be a leader on and off the field.
Throughout her catching career, Jaime has found that to achieve maximum potential and maintain position readiness, a catcher must train 12 months out of the year. Here are three drills that Jaime recommends that can be worked on daily, to enhance strength, speed, footwork and stamina.
This is a great drill to build in reaction time to block. Catchers know solid technique, but it’s reacting to the “missed pitch” that will better prepare catchers.
- Be in a catcher’s squat facing a wall about 4 feet away from the wall
- Have a partner stand directly behind the catcher with a softball
- Tap the softball helmet, right shoulder, or left shoulder of the catcher so they have an idea of which direction to prepare to block the ball
- Throw the softball directly into the wall so it takes one bounce on the ground before the catcher blocks it
- Catcher reacts to the softball and blocks it
Sets/Reps: 10 reps, 3 sets, mix up locations, focusing on quick reaction time off the wall with solid blocking mechanics
Bucket Arm Strength Drill
This drill is great to build arm strength and length while keeping form in proper position.
- Place a bucket with a lid on top on home plate
- Catcher sits on the bucket
- Receive a throw and while still seated on the bucket, drop step to a power line spin on the bucket so you are in good throwing position
- Throw the softball as far as you can, without the ball bouncing (home to second and beyond)
- Now that your max distance is found, even if you have to throw high and up, continue to repeat throw to that distance spotted.
Sets/Reps: 10 reps, 3 sets, throwing to the spot marked as the furthest distance being reached before bouncing.
Next session, go back one step further than the marked spot to continue to build on strength and length of throw, again, 10 reps, 3 sets, at a distance one step further than the day before
Block and Wild Pitch Combo Drill
This drill incorporates solid blocking technique, while the next softball thrown works on exploding for the wild pitch. This will result in building power, speed, and endurance while still maintaining good mechanics even when the body gets tired.
- A catcher in full gear in ready position in a squat
- A partner rolls a softball underhand for the catcher to block and throw back to partner from the knees
- Catcher resets to ready position
- Partner throws a high wild pitch, and the catcher explodes up to catch it, sets to a powerline to throw back to the partner, and back to ready position squat
- Repeat the above steps…catcher in ready position, drop and block ball, throws from knees to partner, back to ready position squat, explodes up for wild pitch, throws from powerline to partner, back to ready position squat, drop and block ball, throws back to partner from knees, back to ready position squat, explode up for wild pitch, continue to repeat this format.
Sets/Reps: 10 reps, 2 sets, up/down is 1 rep.
This will build strength, power, and endurance. As the athlete gets tired during reps 6 -10, encourage the front foot to be strong on the powerline to continue solid accurate throws while pushing through being tired.
Jaime’s advice as a seasoned catcher, coach, and clinician developing athletes, is to make the time every day to train. Why? You do it for the love of the game. You do it for yourself and no one else. You do it because the strength within you loves to excel and compete. You do it because you want to be the best catcher you can be and rise to the challenge. You do it because you want to earn your role on the field. You do it because you anchor the field of success.
Longstreth thanks Jaime Wohlbach for her expertise, passion, and dedication to the game of softball. Visit Longstreth.com for more information about the game, ask the experts, or shop our huge selection of softball catchers gear and other softball equipment.