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Catching in baseball or softball requires a unique skill set along with placing particular physical demands on a player. In order to catch, you need to have exceptional arm and leg strength as well as the ability to move laterally and explode out of a squat to track down balls. Along with needing to train for hitting, baseball and softball catchers need to do specialized exercises.
One of the most physically demanding aspects of catching is being in a squat for almost the entire game on defense. Being able to transition from a squat to a standing or throwing position is critical for fielding bunts or throwing out runners attempting a steal. Hip flexor exercises strengthen and stretch the hip flexors and quadriceps muscles. Kneel and place one foot in front of you so your upper thigh is parallel to the ground and your lower leg is at a 90-degree angle. Put your weight on your front leg and lean backward to thrust your hips forward and stretch your hips and thigh. Hold this position for three seconds and switch to the other leg.
The groin muscles are critical to squatting flexibility for catchers; stretches improve your range of motion and reduce the chance of injury. From a seated position, fully extend your legs and spread them wide enough to feel a slight stretch. Keep your arms together in front of you and lean forward from your hips while keeping your back straight. Hold this position for three seconds and slowly come back to an upright sitting position.
Catchers need outstanding agility and footwork in order to block poor pitches from getting to the backstop or quickly field bunts and throw to a base. A Pro Agility drill helps you quickly field bunts and set your body to throw to a base. Start by straddling a starting line. Turn your body to the left or right and sprint for five yards and touch the ground with your hand. Quickly switch directions and run the opposite way for 10 yards and touch the ground before sprinting back through the starting line.
Arm-strengthening exercises improve your ability to make powerful throws against base stealers and reduce your risk of injuries such as rotator cuff tears. You can do many arm exercises with a 5-gallon bucket filled with 15 pounds of dry rice. Reach into the bucket and open and close your hand freely to try and get to the bottom. Vary this by twisting your arm toward the inside or outside of your body while digging. Placing your hand partially in the rice while opening and closing your fingers strengthens the muscles of your forearm.