Coaching Corner 27 – High catching
High catches go mainly, but not exclusively, to fielders in the deep. Sometimes the ball seems to be in the air for an eternity, and the secrets of safe catching are judgement and concentration.
You need to assess the flight of the ball and move quickly to the area where you think the ball is going to land.
As the ball begins to drop, make sure that you keep your head as still as possible. When you get in position, keep your knees slightly bent and stay relaxed – don’t get tense. Make sure that your eyes are glued to the ball – don’t take your eyes off the ball even for a split second.
Now for the catch itself: there are two slightly different ways of taking the catch.
The first method is the traditional way. Hold the hands high the fingers pointing up and the back of the hands facing outwards. Try to take the catch high, before the ball has passed the eyes. Close the hands round the ball, making sure the hands give into the chest.
Note the knees are slightly bent and that the catcher gives with the ball and brings it into the chest.
The second method, originally used by the Australians, is now more common, and has probably a higher success rate, especially when trying to take a high catch against the background of a sunny clear sky. However, choosing this method does not depend on the weather!
Move to the ball in the same way, but then have the palms facing outwards towards the ball. The fingers are spread to allow a good view of the ball against the light. Again, make the catch above eye level, and give with ball. As the ball is caught, give a little at the knees to minimise the impact on the hands, which are brought down to shoulder/chest level.
Note how the fingers are spread initially but the thumbs are together. They can be crossed.
· Panicking and moving before the path of the ball has been assessed.
· Panicking and “freezing”
· Allowing the ball to drop below eye level, greatly increasing the chances of dropping it.
· Staying rigid and not giving with the ball.