Softball Catching Analysis

softball pickoff, catcher analysis

In order to be able to fully help your softball catchers, it is beneficial to have a thorough understanding of the skill from as many angles as possible. Following is what can referred to as a referent model or softball catching analysis that will give you some ideas on how to improve small specific pieces of the skill that need to be refined.

Softball Catching Analysis Considerations

The best way to analyze softball skills is with video analysis.  The ability to slow the motion down and see specific movements by the player will allow you to not only take not of the refinements but also allows the player to see it as well.  This will be useful in the development of kinesthetic awareness.

Technical / Tactical Skill Factors

We don’t always consider it but catching is a technical and tactical skill.  How and when the player catches the ball will determine the ultimate success.

Some Technical Errors for Softball Catching

Technical Errors

Improvement Strategies

poor positioning

use mirror drills

poor throwing mechanics

work individually

not square to the pitch

give signal early

poor blocking mechanics

practice specifically

poor toss to the plate

use a bucket to practice



Some Tactical Errors for Softball Catching

Tactical Factors

Improvement Strategies

doesn’t know the plays

read the team handbook

inability to read the batter

get educated, observe batters

lack of experience

get game / practice experience

doesn’t know the signals

make them simple



Psychological Requirements

Softball is a game that has a lot of psychological barriers for athletes during competition.  The psychology of catching requires skills that are going to have a

  • Narrow Focus – watching the pitch to the glove / blocking
  • Broad Focus – keeping an eye on the runner / runners
  • Confidence – able to control a game and be vocal
  • Concentration – not distracted by the batter or runners
  • Emotional Control – not affected by environment (fans, etc.)

Some Psychological Challenges for Catching

Psychological Factors

Improvement Strategies

poor rapport with the pitcher

work as teammates not friends

distracted by environment

cue words / self talk

not focused on the batter

have a game plan

focusing on baserunners

work on task at hand



Physical Requirements

Softball is a power sport that requires the following biomotor skills:

  • Coordination – transition
  • Balance – transition
  • Speed – transition
  • Agility – blocking etc
  • Power – transition
  • Flexibility – throwing
  • Aerobic Stamina – recovery / up and down
  • Maximum Strength – throwing

Some Physical Challenges for Catching

Physical Factors

Improvement Strategies

stamina in the legs

wall sits

reaction time

agility drills

coordination (transition)

timing drills

strength (throwing)

weight training / weighted balls



Performance Outcome Factors

Every softball skills is executed with a desired outcome.  That outcome however can be broken down just as the skill itself is.  Here are some expected outcomes that you might have.

Expected Outcome

Mechanics / Biomechanics

receives the ball in strike zone

good at framing

throws out a runner if needed

feet staggered ready to throw

calls the right pitch

weight slightly on back foot

good toss on a passed ball

good throwing mechanics

knows where the runners are

good transition to throwing




As coaches, error detection and correction is what we do.  There is a time and a place however for that activity to occur.  During competition is generally not the time.  Following is a few recommended paths you can take to help your players improve their skills.



Break down the skill

During practice

Kinesthetic feedback

During practice

Skill instruction

During practice

Provide a mentor

During practice