The Benefits of Using Resistance While Training Receiving Skill
Mastering the art of receiving the ball is essential for success on the field. As you will find in most of our content, your ability to receive well has a large impact on the game. Though the overall application of receiving may change at the Major League level in coming years, your ability to maintain strikes for your pitchers is paramount. Recently, the use of resistance bands in catcher's training has become increasingly popular for developing the strength and mechanics needed to control the ball well. Below are some of the benefits of using resistance bands while training receiving skill. Some of these benefits include developing strength, maintaining connection, creating repeatable mechanics, and improving glove speed.
First and foremost, using resistance bands while training receiving can help develop the strength needed to control the ball. You need to be able to catch the ball cleanly and control what happens when the ball hits your mitt. Resistance bands provide a simple and effective way to build this strength, which can lead to cleaner mechanics, better presentation, and less strikes lost.
Additionally, using resistance bands while training your receiving helps you maintain connection. To us, “connection” refers to the position in which a catcher receives the ball. We want to make sure that we are not too extended (think reaching out too far) when the ball hits our glove. Similarly, we want to make sure that we are not receiving the ball too deep (close to the body). We tend to get out of our stronger positions where we can really leverage the ball when over extended. As an experiment, put on your glove and try to keep someone from moving your arm while fully extended. Odds are it will be much more difficult than if we have some bend at the elbow. As for receiving the ball too deep, we want to make sure that we are not hiding the glove from the umpire as the ball is caught. Adding resistance provides a feel for where our glove and arm are in space and can help reinforce proper positioning with the glove. Feeling how much or how little your glove is moving while receiving is also important to finding what works best for you.
Another advantage of resisted receiving work is creating repeatable mechanics. Catchers need to be able to consistently repeat their receiving mechanics in order to catch the ball cleanly and not have their glove bullied (taken away) from the zone. Resistance training can help catchers develop muscle memory for proper mechanics, which can lead to greater consistency and output. You will also have to be efficient to the ball (i.e. point “a” to point “b”) and eliminate any excess movement before the ball hits your mitt. Of course, the ball is not going to be in the same spot every time - the idea with building consistent and repeatable glove actions is the timing, rhythm, and efficiency of each movement. We want to be consistent with our moves from pre-pitch to presentation.
Finally, resistance training can help improve glove speed. Catchers need to be able to move their glove quickly to the ball while controlling it into presentation. This is true whether you elect to move the ball more or move the ball less, and has been a trait of excellent receiving catchers well before that focus was as prevalent as it is today. Improving glove speed can help catchers blur the edges of the zone and flip borderline pitches into strikes.
To wrap up, using resistance bands in your skill work can provide numerous benefits, including developing strength, maintaining connection, creating repeatable mechanics, and improving glove speed - all of these traits are beneficial to catchers who want to improve their receiving ability on the field. Do you absolutely need resistance to be a successful receiving catcher? No. Can it be a solid tool for refining that area of your game. 100%. The CRT Belt was designed to compliment your receiving skills and involves each of the benefits above. Feel free to reach out with any questions regarding this article or if you have any questions about the CRT Belt, other resistance tools, or their application.