What is a pop time? A pop time is the time taken from the instant a pitch hits a catcher’s glove to the moment it strikes the glove of the middle infielder at second base. Generally speaking, a decent time at the big-league level is about two seconds for a baseball catcher.
For a catcher, a pop time like any other measurement in the game can be trained and improved with a few different exercises and lots of practice.
Improve the mobility in your ankles. This sounds crazy right? But as a baseball catcher, the smallest things can be the biggest factors when it comes to pop time. If you have limited mobility in your ankles, it will be hard to move explosively from your squat position. As a catcher, you want to quickly pop your butt up to get your feet back under you when moving out of your squat, that means it is important to have optimal ankle mobility. Here are a couple of exercises and stretches to help with that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy7SSbxcQnw
Catchers, work on your footwork! Moving from squat position to the throw is critical in reducing time and increasing the power behind your throw. Make sure for an optimal pop time to have a combination of a drive shuffle step from a linear to a lateral position. During practice, work on your footwork after every pitch without throwing the ball. If you don’t have the movement pattern of your feet programmed in your motor coordination, then your timing will be off and leg power will be limited. For even more footwork drills, incorporate ladders and jump rope into your practices.
Increase overall leg strength. A lot of your power as a baseball catcher comes from your lower half. Exercises such as squats, lunges, side lunges etc. are good to incorporate into your training. Explosive exercises such as box jumps and jumps squats are important for explosive strength and endurance as well.
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