As you may (or may not) know, I have been working on a book for a little over a year now. Things started out great last year when I set out to write the book. I almost completed the book in just three months of writing, then, I hit the writer's wall. Yep, writer's block set in, and I almost completely forgot how to catch. So I took about 6 months away from the book then picked the pen up again a short time and now I am almost finished with the book. I wanted to give you a sneak peak of what I have been working on in hopes that you will find it interesting enough to get your copy of my book upon its completion. I may be bias in saying this, but I think the book will be extremely helpful for anyone interested in improving as a catcher. This book may be different than any other catching book you have read, as it is not just a book about how to catch, but it is a story about being a catcher with instruction woven into the story.
Here is the excerpt that I would like to share with you today. It is a section titled "Be Unique" which I think is an important part of not only being a catcher but of being an athlete altogether. It is our uniqueness that sets us apart from other athletes when we are working to make a team or move to the next level. I hope you enjoy....
We live in a time where we produce too many cookie cut ball players. We tell kids to do everything the same way, only to turn on MLB games to see the players doing things differently from each other. It is important to give kids a good base or foundation, but it is dangerous to put kids into a box and make them all the same. Catchers need to take their basic knowledge of the position, watch good MLB catchers, and build their own unique style. Yadier Molina, unique. Salvador Perez, unique. Johnny Bench, unique. Jonathan Lucroy, unique. Benito Santiago, unique. Mike Scioscia, unique. These are just a few guys that played the position with a uniqueness that you do not see everyday. Yadier with his arm, Salvador with his charisma. Bench paved the way for one handed catching. Lucroy with his unreal receiving skills, turning everything into a strike. Santiago making every throw from his knees. Scioscia blocking home plate like nobody ever did before him or after him. These guys were all so unique, and are all great catchers. Their uniqueness is why we all want to watch them so much. There is just something different about them that stands out. That unique style that captures our attention.
No two people are identical which means no two catchers should be identical, and if we are teaching our kids all to do the exact same thing then we are taking away from their ability to play the position with their unique style. Today's game demands for a catcher to have the ability to improvise and make athletic plays. By teaching everyone to be the same we take away the freedom to improvise and be athletic. What we end up with is a bunch of robots behind the plate who will not be able to keep up with the speed of the game as they advance, subsequently losing their chance to play. Gone are the days of putting the "fat kid" behind the plate as a backstop. Now our catchers must be athletic and have the ability to make plays. Let them be themselves. Let them have fun. They will surprise you with how successful they can be if you just let them be themselves. Let them play the game the way they can.