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.
Bucket Arm Strength Drill
This drill is great to build arm strength and length while keeping form in proper position.
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.
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 catcher's gear and other softball equipment.
Has your daughter just come home excited that she is going to be the catcher on her softball team? While you are probably celebrating that she has been chosen for such an important position, you might also be wondering how to outfit your softball catcher. What is needed?
Catcher's Mitt and Glove
The catcher's mitt is not the same as other softball mitts or a baseball catcher's mitt. Fastpitch catcher's mitts are larger and have a deeper pocket to handle the size of the softball. In addition, they have thinner padding on the edges for easier catching and transferring for a throw. While durable, they take time to break in. For protection, your daughter will want to wear a softball glove inside her mitt to help absorb the shock and prevent bone bruises. Try on the glove and mitt together to be sure they are comfortable.
Catchers Helmet and Mask
One of the most important protective pieces of equipment is the catcher's helmet and mask. Helmet vents will keep your daughter cool while the foam padding and hard shell will protect her from the ball. Most are made in a streamlined profile to fit snugly but move with the player. Choose a helmet that feels secure as she moves but feels comfortable.
Female catcher chest protectors are made to:
Leg guards will protect your daughter from the knee to her foot. When you measure for leg guards, you want to measure from the middle of the knee to the top of the foot.
Knee Savers and Thumb Guard
Whether your daughter wants knee savers or a thumb guard is optional. Knee savers are a block which works with the leg guard to reduce stress on knee joints. Thumb guards protect against injury in growing players or help a player who is recovering from a thumb injury.
Because your daughter is going to have to carry a lot of equipment including not only her softball cleats and body protective equipment but also her shoes and bat to and from practices and games, you probably want to get her a catcher's bag to carry it more easily. You will want a bag that is big enough for all of her gear to fit in easily so nothing gets damaged.
Final Tips for Outfitting Your Catcher
Make sure to try on catcher’s gear before buying! In truth, if your daughter is playing catcher, she will need more equipment than girls playing other positions. However, if she is just starting out, you don't need to spend an arm and a leg on softball catchers gear. Just make sure she has what she needs to be safe and comfortable so she can play her best. Feel like you need help? At Longstreth Sporting Goods, someone is always available to answer questions and help you make buying decisions for your softball catcher.
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