Catching Skills

Giving Signs


An area that is commonly overlooked when teaching young catchers is giving signs. It is just assumed that a player will be able to flash a few fingers and be on his way. This couldnít be further from the truth. There are many catchers that are not proficient at sign giving. A small problem such as this can lead to game time problems.


A catcher should give slow, controlled finger movements. There is no need to rush. The pitcher should be able to see the signs easily and in a relaxed manner. The catcher's hand should be placed back against the cup. The fingers should be pointing down. If the fingers are at an angle, it will hard to see from 60 feet 6 inches. The last thing you want to have happen is for a catcher to call a change-up and have the pitcher get confused and throw a slider. Be sure the fingers are not placed too low. The hand should not be so low that the on-deck hitter or individuals behind the catcher can see the signs. Another area of concern is to close off both knees.


The knees should be facing toward the pitcher. If the knees are open, the coaches in the coaching box may be able to see the signs and relay them to the hitter. There is nothing wrong with stealing signs if the catcher is doing a poor job. Close off the knees and make the hitters beat you the hard way. Also, have as little hand movement as possible. Donít give away location of pitches with loud arm and hand movements. The key to sign giving is to be slow, deliberate, and subtle.


The catcher's glove hand should always be in the same position when giving regular signs and switched when giving alternate signs when a runner is on second base. For example. If a catcher rests his glove on his left knee whenever he gives regular signs, then the catcher should dangle his glove to his left side when using alternate signs. This gives a visual message to the pitcher that different signs are being used. A third set of signs can be signaled by the catcher's glove being held behind his back. If the catcher feels that the pitcher is unaware of sign-changing, then the catcher should call time out and have a mound conference.

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