ABCA Recaps - Sal Fasano

05
Feb

Liam Carroll

A reminder that the BBF/BSUK Coaching Clinic will take place on the 17th...be there if you want to become a better coach, and help us spread the word!

Identifying Catchers’ Tools and Talents
Sal Fasano – Catching Coordinator, Toronto Blue Jays

Clinic Topics

1. Introduction
2. Talents and Tools – what to look for in a Catcher
3. Frame
4. Identifying his natural catching style
5. Identifying his future growth
6. Conclusion

Coach Fasano needed no introduction but this quote from ESPN’s Jeff Pearlman gives you a big clue about his standing within the baseball community:

"When I think of Sal Fasano, however, I think of greatness. Not of Willie Mays or Ted Williams greatness, but of a uniquely excellent human being who, were class and decency the most valued standards of a career, would be the easiest Hall of Fame inductee of all time."

In terms of tools and talents, Coach Fasano reinforced many things such as leadership, energy, memory and anticipation.  He also emphasised that size and strength are not over rated.  While there’s a place for people of many shapes and sizes in our sport, Fasano used the example of collisions at Home Plate to drive home the point that this is an incredibly physical position and coaches/scouts must pay attention to size when identifying and evaluating Catchers.  In terms of leadership, Coach Fasano said that having a presence on the field can begin in the sign-giving stance and can be achieved by having great posture.

Reinforcing Keith Vorhoff’s Catching presentation, athleticism in the Catcher’s various stances is often overlooked.  Coach Fasano uses various dynamic drills to both reinforce their natural style and develop athleticism.  Examples included various types of jumps starting and finishing in the stance, such as sets of small jumps moving forward and super jumps, as high as possible.

Fasano outlined various types of receiving stance, noting that it’s important for coaches to consider the Catcher’s natural style and pros/cons of each stance:

Crab Stance
• Feet narrower than the knees
• Good for new Catchers
• Loss of athleticism
Square Stance
• Knees over the feet
• Most athletic
• Easier to identify balls and strikes
Pyramid Stance
• Feet wide, knees close together
• Ideal for Pitchers with great tilt (downhill action)
• Width of feet can reduce mobility/ankle-sway

To evaluate a Catcher’s future growth, Coach Fasano looks at their athleticism, flexibility and balance in their stance, receiving, blocking and throwing.  Ultimately he wants a guy who can receive and “steal strikes.”

An important point on technique that he made was that “carpenters frame and Catchers receive.”  This means that the Catcher’s job is to receive the pitch with strong hands, and that “stealing strikes” is a result of the position of the body and the glove, not of trying to move a pitch from six inches off the plate into the strike zone.

Coach Fasano’s conclusion included the following points:
• “I have never seen a World Series team win that didn’t have a good Catcher.”
• “Take the time with your Catchers daily and create a routine for their pre-game.”
• “The Catcher is the backbone – without a spine, nobody can hold up to the grind of the game.”

My Most Important Thing

Referencing the workouts that he puts his Catchers through, especially in Spring Training, Coach Fasano said that “they may hate him at first but then embrace him when they see growth.”  It’s supposed to be hard and coaches must make it so.

Last Up: Barry Dean

On Deck: Steve Smith

LC

tagged under: baseball, coaching, softball, mlb, catching, spring training

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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