Should Catchers Utilize 1-Knee Down Style?

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

Nothing in catching history has caused as much controversy as the one-knee down receiving style as the opposite leg is out to the side.

The first catcher who adopted this technique was Tony Peña who caught 18 years in the Major Leagues from 1980-1997 with Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston and Cleveland.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he was a 4-time Gold Glove award winner and utilized this style to receive pitches low in the strike zone.

He only used this unorthodox style with no runners on base.

Up to that point, catchers always received pitches in the traditional two knee up squatting style for maximum mobility to receive pitches more easily that went left, right, high and low.

In this special report by Collegiate Baseball, three highly respected catching coaches chime in on the subject.

Scott Overlund, a superb catching coach in Tucson, Ariz. and a former catcher at the University of Arizona, firmly believes the one-knee down catching style is hurting receivers and has caused numerous passed balls since this style was adopted on all levels of the game.

Overlund also feels only a small minority of catchers can throw to bases with maximum velocity and accuracy with the one-knee down style when runners try to steal.

In fact, he has witnessed so many passed balls by catchers who receive with one knee down that he wants a new stat in baseball which tracks how many balls get past catchers compared to the traditional squatting style. He feels it would be eye-opening.

Jerry Weinstein of the Colorado Rockies and Charlie Greene, Jr. of the Milwaukee Brewers, two skilled catching coaches, also give their views on the subject.

Weinstein is adamant that all catchers must learn the traditional style of receiving as well as the one knee down technique to see what style they can excel at. He feels every catcher is different. Weinstein doesn’t feel cloning catchers with one style is the answer.

Greene has strong opinions on both styles as well.

“Most of the kids trying the one-knee down catching style are doing it because they see Major League catchers doing it on TV,” said Overlund.

“So they feel that is just how they have to catch. None of them are athletic enough to make it work.

“And you CAN’T block the ball with this style. I was taught by one of the great catching coaches of all-time in Jim Wing at the University of Arizona. He taught me the traditional way of receiving pitches. Over the years, he worked with some good catchers and made them great as they received pitches with two knees up.”

To read more of this in-depth story, purchase the Jan. 7 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball. It includes comments on all sides of the issue from great catching coaches. This edition is also the 2022 College National Preview edition which includes a special 36-page pullout section with in-depth information about top teams and players from all college baseball levels, including top pro prospects. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.