Back in the day, if you were overweight, too tall, or not exactly the athlete, you might have been told to play catcher. Today it’s a completely different story. The catching position is probably the most challenging due to both the level of technique and athleticism that come to play. Pop time is a great evaluation of catcher’s ability to combine both of these elements on the diamond.
Contrary to some belief, a good pop time doesn’t necessarily mean a high throwing speed. A catcher can have an elite pop time well under 2 seconds, but have a low ball speed that doesn’t even reach 80 mph. What makes the difference when throwing to second base is the amount of time it takes you to release a solid, accurate throw. The few miles per hour difference in ball speed is almost negligible next to the proper lower body movement that creates a quick release when throwing out a runner.
A drastic drop in pop time takes proper mechanics, and with effective training, you can find yourself with an elite time well under the 2-second mark. In this article, I’ll give you five key ways you can take the next step as a catcher.
For the tools and program to implement these five tips for improving a catchers pop time refer to the 2X Velocity Program below.
5 Critical Ways to Cut Pop Time
- Better Stability - Proper stabilization is a key component to becoming an effective catcher. The more you extend and stabilize your front leg, the better the throw will be. The goal is to prevent overextending your front leg, which compromising lower-body stability. This is a common mistake among young catchers. It’s important to stay behind the throw, keeping the back leg centered behind the body in a stable position. This is achieved by practicing good hip rotation, which ultimately brings proper leg extension during the throw. The 2X Velocity Program comes with a routine that will train you for both better mobility and stabilization.
- Improving Squat Position - A good squat position is a vital fundamental in becoming an elite catcher. A catcher’s throwing speed is limited when he’s sitting on a poor foundation. The key to a strong foundation is lowering the hips as much as possible while keeping the trunk as vertical as possible. It’s very important to first stabilize a straight spine in order to achieve a good squat position. Make sure to keep your feet shoulder width apart while facing the mound, and also screw your feet solidly into the ground. Establishing proper posture is the base of mastering a good squat position that will elevate your game to the next level. The 2X Velocity Program includes the Fusion System, which will give you the right training and understanding to develop a good posture and squat position.
- 2X Separation - Separation is a key mechanical component to master for catchers looking to develop a sub 2.0 pop time. This is the act of extending the drive leg ankle and the hip flexor while the hips and shoulders separate. Proper extension of a the drive leg ankle leads the hip flexor into a solid hip rotation, which ultimately will lead to a lower pop time. Hip to shoulder separation will always be limited when there isn’t enough force coming from the drive leg or if the drive leg fires too late. Timing is everything during separation. During a throw, a catcher should cock his throwing arm behind his head at a flexed arm position of 90 degrees or less with 90 degrees of external rotation. All this should happen the moment the torso starts to rotate towards the target. The 2X Velocity Program includes instructional videos that will train to enhance hip to shoulder separation.
- Improving External Rotation - External rotation is when the throwing arm extends back before it fires, like a catapult. This a key component in increasing throwing speed. The focus here is on the upper body, once the energy from the lower body has moved up. The most effective way to enhance this mechanism is by properly thrusting the chest forward while extending the throwing arm back. By thrusting the chest forward you’re flexing the trunk, which supports the load on the throwing arm into maximum external rotation. A solid thrust of the chest will cause the chin to remain tucked in as the torso moves toward from the target. The 2X Velocity Program includes a training program that will show you a detailed way for achieving a maximum external rotation.
- Enhancing Internal Rotation Pronation - Internal rotation pronation is another important component for catchers looking to increase throwing velocity. This is where the throwing arm becomes active and is adding force to the ball. This stems from the proper use of the upper torso and shoulder separation. What’s crucial here is to prevent overcompensation. One common mistake is pulling the throwing shoulder down with the glove arm. The force put into the throw needs to come from the energy produced by good shoulder to hip separation. Another form of overcompensation to refrain from is pulling the arm down and across the body during the throw. This diverts the energy created from the body’s core to the muscles in the arm, ultimately leading to a less accurate and possibly weaker throw. The 2X Velocity Program will train you to improve this aspect of your throwing approach, helping create a much faster pop time.
The #1 Catchers Pop Time Training Program
The 2X Sub 2.0 Velocity Program is the only pure science-based pop time enhancement program for catchers. It uses a 3 calendar system with two levels of off-season training to develop the elite catcher profile. The calendars include the proprietary drill-based throwing program, Olympic based strength/power training program and the fast twitch-based anaerobic conditioning program.
Finally here is the pop time training program that actually gets the job done and is making a name for itself at all levels of the game.
If you would like to learn more, I would suggest you signup for the FREE 3 Part Series on 30 Days to a Top Prospect Player Profile or get started today taking your game to the next level with the 2X Velocity Program.