Dedicated to Softball Girls with Big Hearts & Big Dreams
Oct 10, 2018
High squat? Low squat? Ever wonder why there are different philosophies on the catcher’s squat? Which is correct? One of the most frequent inquiries I receive from people is my philosophy in regards to the squat. I was a catcher and my opinions about the position are not based on what I’ve been taught, necessarily. I have done a ton of investigation on the reasons why catching mechanics are the way that they are. Not all coaches agree on the softball squat, but we're going to kind of uncover the reasons of why they are done. It’s important to recognize that although your coach might teach the squat a different way, that does not mean they are incorrect. Everyone has their own ways of teaching, but note that we often teach what we have been taught without knowing the reasoning behind what we teach. I would encourage all players and coaches to investigate their reasoning for their own philosophies.
Let’s start discussing a squat that everybody agrees upon. That squat is the pitch calling position. Legs are close together. Your glove is on the outside part of your knee so that it shields the third base coach from seeing any of your signals. Your signs are high and tight to your body. This is your private form of communication between you and the pitcher. The only other people that might be in on receiving this information could be the shortstop and second baseman in order to relay the sign to the outfielders. Baseball and softball players and everyone in between all agree on the pitch-calling position.
Next let’s discuss the high squat. Some coaches believe that catchers should set up in a higher position when runners are on base or if there are two strikes on the batter. They believe that this might make a catcher better able to get in a throwing position for a steal and better able to block a ball if it’s in the dirt. Although this is a higher position, it is not so high as to be meant to block the umpire. The coaches that teach the high squat also believe that when nobody is on base or there are less than 2 strikes, a catcher should be in a low squat. This philosophy is very common among baseball coaches, and we will discuss why it is popular for baseball later in the article.
The second philosophy is the low squat for catchers. Despite whether there are runners on base or there are any strikes on the batter, the catcher will always be in a low squat. These coaches believe that catchers are just as or more athletic and quick in a low squat than a high squat. Typically, more softball coaches and women will be taught this low squat philosophy at all times. I was taught both philosophies in my playing career and have a preference to being in a low catcher’s squat at all times while catching.
Before we explain, please understand there is no right or wrong answer. It is simply a philosophy. Like anything in softball, it is important to better understand the “why” behind what we do so that we can better understand our roles.
First of all, I think that a catcher should always be in a position to be agile. There might be a pop fly in a game when nobody is on and you have to dive to get it. Softball has a huge amount of small ball so you have to be on your toes to field a bunt at all times. In order to frame effectively, you need to be able to get around frames and be agile at all times as pitches break in the zone. Games are fast-paced. I do not believe the only time a softball catcher should be “ready” should be when runners are on base or when there are 2 strikes on the batter. Our game is simply too fast to only be ready during those times.
I believe that a catcher should be in a low squat at all times for 3 reasons.