Programs for improving pop time for catchers usually consist of a lot of throwing to bases and resistance tubing. Maybe bringing in weighted balls to build “Arm Strength.” In my experience, most catchers have a poor understanding of the throwing mechanics that allows a catcher to move quickly and at the same time generate as much ball speed as possible. Once a catcher gains this knowledge, he quickly learns that “Arm Strength” has very little to do with his performance.
Developing a 1.8 or under pop time takes either a ton of power or pure speed. It is typical of the infield throws that arm speed isn’t the only deciding factor when it comes to pop time. A quick release can replace high arm speed if the high arm speed takes more time to generate. There comes a point in any delivery when the added arm speed takes too long to generate and begins to work against pop time.
In this article, I will go over the 2X Mechanics of elite level pop time to help educate the catcher. How to balance arm speed with quickness and the best approach to improving pop time. All I ask is that you leave the conventional wisdom behind, so we advance your knowledge of this skill.
How to Improve Catcher Pop Time
In this video I go over the 2X Mechanics for catchers. I use three MLB catchers for examples of the different styles of using elite arm speed over using pure quickness to release. This instructional video will give you a clear understanding of the key mechanics and the difference between the two different styles of elite pop times.
2X Mechanics for Catcher Pop Time
The critical first step of the catcher is in the drive shuffle step combo. All position players have the ability to generate power through momentum towards the target in an initial drive. The positions that require a quicker release are best performed with a combined drive shuffle step or what we call in the 2X Mechanics the combo drive shuffle step.
If the catcher can master this combo drive shuffle step and perform it as quickly as possible then his chances of increasing both ball speed and quickness to release is great. The best way to define this combo drive shuffle step is first through a push or drive of the drive leg and a pull of the front leg following the drive. This will cause the drive leg to move towards the front leg and the front leg to stride into front foot strike. The feet are actually trading places.
As the front foot moves through the final stride the drive leg must extend into front foot strike. If the forces of the drive leg peak at front foot strike then this will push the hips forward also with the firing of the glutes. Opening the hips as early as possible creates more hip to shoulder separation which is the foundation of the 2X Mechanics.
To make sure the early rotation of the hips converts into good hip to shoulder separation, the catcher must cock the throwing arm just at front foot strike or just a split second before. Early arm cocking will start a early trunk rotation and quicken the release but reduce the load on the arm which decreases arm speed. Late arm cocking will increase arm speed but slow the release time. Finding the perfect release time and ball speed combo can only be discovered through testing this timing of the throwing arm into the cocked position. The 2X Velocity Program gives you a series of drills to practice this timing mechanism.
2X Velocity Program for Catchers
In the 2X Velocity Program it will give you a series of drills with both med balls and baseballs to work on the 2X Mechanics which you should have learned a little about in the video above. There is no better way to practice the motor coordination of elite pop time and also at the same time using an Olympic Style strength and conditioning program to develop elite power so you can move through this motor coordination more explosively.
We have had a tremendous amount of success with the 2X Velocity Program but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just try it and if you do not like the approach, you will get a full refund within 60 days.