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MaxBP Drill of the Week: React & Track

MaxBP Reaction Training Drill – “React & Track” (Catcher’s Drill)

The value of the MaxBP machine is found in increasing your reaction timing. It can increase your hand-eye coordination, pitch recognition in the batter’s box, with quicker adjustments to off-speed pitches. MaxBP can also assist catchers with their receiving and blocking skills as the “React & Track” training video demonstrates.    

What the drill focuses on?

In this video, Ryan Harrison in Slow The Game Down demonstrates the value of using the MaxBP wiffle ball pitching machine for the “React & Track” training drill.  Professional baseball player, Tyler Heineman, joins Harrison for the drill demonstrating major league talent.  Notice how Heineman is crouching in his catcher stance throughout the drill with his safety glasses while wearing a batting glove as he catches the ball after it crosses home plate.

Why is the React & Track training drill helpful?

The React & Track training drill assists catchers with receiving skill improvement. If completed correctly, this drill will force a catcher to catch a smaller ball without a glove. Therefore, increasing the catchers focus, hand-eye coordination, and receiving skills.

How can coaches implement the React & Track with their teams?

When a coach assists players using the MaxBP wiffle ball pitching machine, they have the ability to easily control the direction and eventual location of the ball by moving the outside of the machine box and therefore the ball filter. General catcher’s knowledge includes predicting that a ball never lands where the catcher’s glove is located after the pitcher agrees to the pitch selection. The MaxBP machine prepares you for this challenge by directing the ball filter anywhere in the zone.  The catcher must then react, track, and catch the ball with his hand. 

What are different variations of this training drill?

For the React & Track training drill, there are three important user variations of the MaxBP pitching machine. While using the MaxBP Pro Pitching Machine, you can increase the rapidness of the drill by removing the ball plugs at the bottom of the container. This will benefit the catchers’ endurance and reaction time behind the plate.

In addition to the first variation, as the catcher is in his crouching position, a coach or assistant can effortlessly operate the machine through changing the ball filter’s position and in turn direction and eventual location of the ball.  In this variation of the drill, a catcher can work on his blocking skills with the assistance of a coach, teammate, or assistant by having the second person bounce balls before reaching the plate or by directing balls far outside the hitter’s zone. Again, because of wild pitch possibilities, the MaxBP machine prepares a player for any pitch. The catcher must then react, track, and catch the ball with his hand. 

In addition, a catcher can combine the above two versions to create a third variation of the React & Track training drill. Using the MaxBP Pro and an assistant, a catcher can work on his endurance, reaction time, and blocking skills behind the plate.  This is done by removing the ball plugs at the bottom of the container before loading to increase rapidness while having an assistant directing the machine box container to an area outside the hitters’ zone.

Why is small ball training with a MaxBP machine important?

Where a wiiffle ball is small, and a catcher’s mitt is excluded from the React & Track training drill, it illustrates the “aim small, miss small” baseball adage. Harnessing the drill’s purpose, a catcher is more prepared to receive and block pitches with real baseballs in real games.  When you couple this with the rapidness aspect, it increases a catcher’s endurance, reaction time, and blocking skills much faster than live game time.