Saturday, October 12, 2013

Learning to Catch

The other night the team's catcher took a hard hit.  It resulted in a buckle fracture to his thumb.  The team was left without a catcher. 

Little Man had begged me to let him catch back in the spring.  I was reluctant and did not allow him to catch.  He practiced at home.  Little Man would spend hours throwing the ball high into the air and then rip off the catcher's helmet to ready himself to catch a pop-up.  He really wanted to catch.

His time to catch had come.  The team needed a catcher.  The infield was solid.  So, the next day, Little Man and I began working on catching drills.  We had two days before the next game.

He was ecstatic to catch.  We had all the gear except for a catcher's mitt.  I took him to Play It Again Sports to purchase a well broken in mitt. 

When we returned home, he immediately put on his gear. I threw the ball to him and he caught it.  I threw harder and harder and he caught it.  He, however, was scared to get in front of the pitching machine.  I really don't blame him.  The machine is a bit intimidating.  So, we held off on the machine for the first day.

On game day, we again went out to practice.  I told him he has to get in front of the machine if he was to catch tonight.  He put it off.  We practice pop-ups, fouls, throws to home, etc.  He was ready for everything, but the machine.

Finally, after lunch, he built up the nerve to catch in front of the machine.  He got behind the plate and caught the ball to his surprise.  I pitched it again and he caught it.  He was ready.

The coach had not planned on using him during the game.  He never had seen him catch and another boy had caught a few times during a practice.  However, before the game during warm-ups, they had both boys practice catching.  Little Man did just as well as the the other boy. 

The coach put in the other boy during the first inning.  But, then decided to use Little Man for the second inning.  He did awesome!  No one could tell that he had never caught before.  He looked better than other kids that had caught all season.  Little Man was on cloud nine.

I think I have a catcher now!