The third essential fundamental in throwing is the Two-Step Footwork. While you Catch the Ball Deep and Transfer Through Right Shoulder with Thumb Up, your feet are executing the following Two-Step Footwork:
- Step under your chin with your right foot
- Step straight towards your target with your left foot
We fundamentally believe that catchers should be getting momentum towards their target when they throw. Quickness is essential, but catchers also need to be able to use their legs and make the strongest throw they possibly can while still being quick. In order to establish forward momentum, we teach a small jab step 3-4 inches in front of the toes, right in the middle of the body. If you were to draw a straight line from your chin down to the ground while in your secondary stance, that would be the exact spot where the first step takes place. This step establishes forward momentum to help get the legs into the throw, but it also keeps the step short enough so that it remains quick. Stepping behind or in a square shaped motion creates too much rotational momentum, and taking too big of a step forward takes too much time. Stepping right under the chin is the most ideal spot for the first step.
The second step is to step straight towards the target with the left foot. Again, this sounds simple enough, but in the context of the explosive throwing motion it is very easy to under or over rotate with the target step. The importance of this step is self-explanatory – to make consistent, strong, and accurate throws the catcher must be taking a step straight towards their target.
Lastly, with both steps, the catcher needs to make sure that his/her feet stay as close to the ground as possible. The bottoms of their turfs/spikes should almost be scrapping along the ground. Any movement up off the ground beyond what is necessary takes momentum in the wrong direction and wastes precious time. The feet need to complete the Two-Step Footwork as quickly possible, so as a coach/drill partner, watch out for wasting time and momentum with the catcher’s feet coming too high off the ground.
Remember, the Clock is King. Catchers must be as quick as possible, but they also need to be able to get their legs into the throw and establish forward momentum towards the base. As we wrap up this post, it is important to mention that there are some catchers you see in the MLB that do not get much, if any forward momentum on their throws. The reason is that their arms are so strong that they are able to get away with not using their legs much at all. They are the exception rather than the rule. We can and should learn a lot from big league catchers, but we also have to remind ourselves that they have world-class arm strength. The majority of catchers, including most college and pro catchers, need to utilize their legs as much as possible, and this Two-Step Footwork is the way to use your legs but still stay quick.
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