Baseball Catcher-Most needed player

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Baseball Catching-Most needed playerBasseball catching

The catching position is the most important as well as the most under coached position on the baseball field. A great baseball catcher can make pitchers better, make a defense stronger, and keep a game plan on course.  So why don’t coaches spend more time educating themselves and players about correctly fielding the position?

Introducing Greg Creager

This article is going to be the first in a series by a fellow coach. Greg Creager has played catcher his whole life. He played D1 college baseball until an injury ended his baseball playing career. As with most of us with a passion for the game, his dedication to the sport has never stopped. He is now a partner at the Fort Smith Baseball Academy located at 10818 Old Hwy 71 Fort Smith, AR.

I became acquainted with Greg through a Facebook group called “Coaching Baseball – Tips, Drills, travel teams, and more…” Greg often posts great information and comments. When he posted the following tips on catching I had to contact him and see if he would let me bring his knowledge to more people.

Greg’s words are top notch information about the catching position and if more coaches take the time to teach good athletes how to catch the future of baseball will be a lot brighter.

Importance of a catcher

Baseball catchingCatchers, as you know if you read my page about the position, is the most important position on defense. A great catcher is a leader both physically and emotionally. Catchers are an extension of the coach on defense.

The catching position is the brain of the baseball team, yet most youth coaches but kids behind the dish that they can’t play at another position. Or worse they put a good athlete behind the plate and don’t give them any instruction. With inferior ability, lack of coaching, or both, players develop many bad habits that are hard to break.

Coach G’s words of wisdom

I work with a lot of catchers. One thing I notice that is becoming an epidemic is the bad habits that get started at young ages.  I have also seen these problems are the result of a couple of things, 1.) the coach knows nothing about catching and doesn’t spend any time, and 2.) at an early age (coach pitch) they just throw a kid back there that they don’t necessarily want to play in the field. So having said that I hope to change that with hopefully one child and one uninformed coach at a time.

So here is Coach G’s first catching tip of the week. Baseball catching

Primary stance: this is the usual position catchers are in without runners on, the threat of stealing or two strikes. This setup allows you to sit more comfortably while still performing the most typical duties of calling and receiving pitches.

You want to be low in your stance giving the pitcher a good low target. Being relaxed with your legs slightly wider than your shoulders with your toes angled out, which allows your hips to be open. (A good rule of thumb is the plate is 17 inches wide, and your knees should be on each side of the plate when you squat.) Your mitt should be in the center of your body, away from your chest with your forearm (not elbow) resting on your knee. Be sure to have your mitt at about the same height as your batters knees which should be the bottom of the hitting zone. Keep your throwing hand down at your side behind your leg NEVER BEHIND YOUR BACK.

*When the catcher puts their throwing arm behind their back it puts them in an off-balance position. It also causes the shoulder joint to be in a more open position making the catcher susceptible to foul balls causing injury to the shoulder.

Also don’t set up so far back off the plate. Get as close as you can while still being out of the batters swing to get those low strikes instead of those low balls that should have been strikes.

Stick the strikes,

Coach G.

Summary

Coach G’s words are a description of the primary catching position. There are other positions that a catcher needs to learn. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to bring you all of those stances as well as the mental responsibilities of the catcher. We will also get into the differences between coaching youth players (Little League) and older kids (Travel and 90-foot basepath).

Thank you,

Coach Wood

*Coach Wood’s added note

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Best Youth Baseball Cleats- for younger players

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Best Youth Baseball Cleats- For Younger Players

This is a review of the best youth baseball cleats for younger players. We will compare cleats from Nike, New Balance and Under Armour. The purpose of this review is to give you a better understanding of what you are getting for your hard earned $$.



Nike

Nike offers four different cleats on their website nike.com for boys. These cleats range from size 10 to 7. The price and colors vary for each model. They have 2 mid-cut models and 2 low-cut models.



Nike Force Trout 3 ProBest Youth Baseball Cleats

This top of the line youth baseball cleat is priced at $62. It is a mid-cut cleat that boasts a synthetic leather and NIKE SKIN upper for durability. It also has Flywire cables to lock in fit. A Phylon midsole with NIKE AIR provides lightweight cushioning. It also has a twelve-cleat configuration to enhance traction.


While all of that sounds impressive and the fact that it comes in 5 colors will entice some of the younger shoppers there are quite a few negative reviews about this shoe. Most of the negativity revolves around the fact that NIKE designed this shoe with a fixed opening. There is no tongue on the shoe. It is one piece. While this is supposed to provide better support around the ankle it does make it very difficult to get a younger players foot into these cleats until they are broken in quite well.


For what you have to pay for the shoe I think you should at least be able to get your child’s foot into it without the use of a crowbar.



Nike Vapor Ultrafly Pro MCS

Best Youth Baseball CleatsThis is NIKE’s second most expensive model. At $47 this low-cut cleat offers a synthetic leather and TPU mesh upper for durability. Flywire technology for a lock-down fit, a Lunarlon midsole for lightweight cushioning, and solid rubber outsole with 11 cleats for traction and an inner sleeve that creates a sock-like fit.


All of these technical advances come in 2 colors, black with white or white with black. This is a sturdy shoe and if your player is going to log some miles will hold up inning after inning. The look is sharp and I found no complaints with this cleat.

 



Nike Vapor Ultrafly KeystoneBest Youth Baseball Cleats

This cleat is the hallmark of Nike cleats in my opinion. The Keystone model has been around for what seems like forever. A synthetic leather and TPU mesh upper for durability. The Phylon midsole providing lightweight cushioning. A solid rubber outsole with 12 spike configuration provides excellent traction, and an inner sleeve to provide a sock-like fit. All this and they added flex grooves to the sole that promote the natural movement of a players foot.


This staple of the Nike lineup comes in black or red and white. It is a basic cleat that will look good and provide the player with a lot of innings before it is ready to retire. The icing on the cake for this cleat is that it sells for $30.



«Click Here to Buy NIKE Cleats Now»


NIKE makes some of the best youth baseball cleats. They have been doing it for a long time and know what works. They run true to size. Well if you are Nike you are the size. The only negative to the Nike cleats is that they only come in standard width. So if you passed the wide foot gene onto your offspring these cleats might not fit them the best.



New Balance

New Balance offers two of the best youth baseball cleats on their website newbalance.com. The mid-cut runs from sizes 1 to 7. The low-cut is offered from size 10.5 to 7. The mid-cut model comes in one color, while the low-cut comes in four colors. Both models offer standard and WIDE widths.



New Balance Mid Cut 3000 Rubber Molded CleatBest Youth Baseball Cleats

This cleat is 8.9 ounces of big league support for little players. It Has a mesh/synthetic upper and rubber molded bottom. While there is not a lot of technical hype associated with these cleats they are what New Balance is all about. A good solid functional shoe that works for the person it is designed for.


New Balance is not big on telling you how good they are so I am going to have to do it for them. New Balance cleats are flat out comfortable. They look good and last a long time. OK, maybe I am not the best spokesperson for them either. It is just that there is not a lot of effort spent on the sizzle in the New Balance lineup. It is all about the substance.



New Balance 4040v3 Rubber Molded Cleat

Best Youth Baseball CleatsA lot like the mid cut cleat this low cut model is not going to bring the disco ball to the party. All though it does come in four colors, black and white, black and blue, black and orange and black and red.


It provides amazing mid-foot support, low profile cleats for superior grip and strategically placed cushioning so the other players have to play catch-up to you. It offers a camo lining. Durable synthetic upper and a trusted molded bottom.


New Balance does not give you a lot of options, but, the ones they do offer count. The fact that you can get all of their cleats in standard and wide width make it easy to find the cleat that will fit your young player the way they need it to.


When you are out on the field your equipment should work as hard as you do. The team at New Balance has made sure that will happen with these cleats. At $44.99 For either model, you can’t go wrong here. I would put these at the top of my list as the best youth baseball cleats.

«Buy New Balance Cleats Here»



Under Armour

Under Armour has quickly made a name for itself around the game of baseball. They provide good quality and take into consideration that players in team sports still have individual styles. UA has given youth players some options to customize their cleats while staying within a reasonable budget. All of this makes for some of the best youth baseball cleats available today.


Under Armour offers 8 different youth baseball shoe options. I am going to go over three of them. They offer 3 low-cut models, Four mid-cut models, and a low-cut turf/ trainer model. The cleats range in price from $54.99 on the high end to $22.99 on the low end. Under Armour offers several different color options that vary from shoe to shoe.



Under Armour MLB Switch Low Jr.Best Youth Baseball Cleats

The MLB Switch Jr has a synthetic leather upper for step-in comfort and durability. A mesh tongue adds breathability to help keep the foot dry. A full-length EVA midsole for cushioning and comfort and dispersed cleat pressure. While the rubber molded cleats provide traction for all field surfaces.


Best Youth Baseball CleatsAll of this is really cool for you but, the hook that will reel your young player in will be the clear window on the tongue that they can put their team color in. They also have the option of placing the logo of their favorite MLB team or their own name or number in this slot.


All of this is offered by Under Armour for just $39.99. If you can find a customized cleat for less than that please let me know.



Under Armour Leadoff MidBest Youth Baseball Cleats

With a synthetic leather upper that provides durability and support. This cleat is a top seller. It has a mesh tongue for breathability keeping the foot cool and dry all game long. The full-length EVA midsole adds comfort, cushioning and disperses cleat pressure. While the rubber molded cleats provide great traction on the field.


This cleat is available in 6 color combinations that I am not even going to try to describe. You have to see these cleats to believe how good they look. For only $37.99 your young player will stand out on the field wearing a pair of these. If their game is as flashy as the shoes on their feet your superstar will be hoisting a trophy at the season’s end.



Under Armour Ultimate TurfBest Youth Baseball Cleats

This is a product that many parents will want to invest in. The $54.99 price tag won’t seem that expensive when your ballplayer is wearing these to all the indoor practices instead of his school shoes.


They are built to stand up to the rigors of the off-season workouts or be worn to and from the field for practice. They can be used in practice, or for games if you are playing on artificial turf fields.


Constructed of a combination synthetic leather and lightweight breathable mesh they are durable. Packed with high rebound SuperFoam® insole they absorb shock. The full-length Micro G® midsole gives better feel and stability. Finally, the anatomically inspired non-marking rubber outsole provides traction for multiple surfaces.


Knowing what kids shoes go through isn’t it a smart choice to provide them with a durable and similar shoe to the one they will be playing in when they practice too.

«Shop Under Armour Youth Baseball Cleats»



When shopping for youth baseball cleats you should take into consideration that your child probably won’t wear out the shoe. So at the end of the season, there will be plenty of innings left in the shoe. Chances are they won’t fit your child by the time they need the shoe again. If you have the opportunity donate your shoes to a local charity or a younger player who’s family doesn’t have the means to buy new cleats. Too many kids miss out on the lessons and fun that youth baseball has to offer because they just can’t afford the equipment. Open your heart and help build a dream.


Looking for a place to Donate? Best youth baseball cleats


OUR MISSION (From Pitch in for Baseball website)

Pitch In For Baseball® (PIFB) is a registered 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that provides new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to boys and girls in the United States and around the world who want to play ball but lack the equipment to do so. PIFB helps to reduce barriers to play by providing equipment grants directly to leagues, schools, and organizations around the world to start, continue, and/or expand their youth baseball programs.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

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