Force plays at the plate at taken much like a first baseman receiving a ball from the infield. The right foot is on the plate and the catcher steps to the ball with his left foot. Catch with both hands. Double play turns are done the same way. Make sure you step to the ball enough to clear yourself from any possible contact with a runner sliding into the plate. Like all throws to 1B your feet and shoulders should be line up to the target.
Tag plays at the plate can be the difference in the outcome of the game. They can also be a play that puts the catcher at risk of injury. Before the play, the catcher should be in position in front of the plate. On all hits where there might be a play at the plate the catcher should position his left foot 12 inches in front of the plate and 12 inches inside the foul line. The catcher’s left toe should point down the 3rd baseline even if the throw is coming from right field. This position enables the catcher to watch the play develop and know that a runner can cross the plate without making contact with the catcher. The left foot always points to 3rd so that the catcher has the benefit of the shin guard to protect him. It also makes it easier to pivot and make the tag after the catch. Watch what can happen if the left foot is not positioned correctly in the Buster Posey video.
On a tag play at the plate catch the ball with two hands and make the tag with two hands. Ideally, the ball should be held in the right hand and the right hand is inside the mitt. Check out the College World Series video for an excellent example of how to make a tag at the plate. Notice the position of the catcher’s left foot when the runner makes contact with him. Also notice how he has the ball secured in his right hand.
- Practice double play turns from every infielder.
- Practice tag plays from all directions including short hops and long hops.