Learn fielding fundamentals from the pros

The Elite Catcher

Major League catcher teaches elite catching mechanics in a step-by-step video program (with LOTS of drills)

(Watch the video above or keep reading below for more info on this online catcher training program)

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Learn fielding fundamentals from the pros

The Elite Catcher

Major League catcher teaches elite catching mechanics in a step-by-step video program (with drill program)

A while back, I was watching a U10 baseball team play a U12 team.  

The U12 team was clearly bigger and stronger.  

All other things being equal, anyone would expect the older team to smash the younger team - by a wide margin!  

But things weren’t equal.  

It started to become apparent the first time a pitcher walked a batter and then the runner stole 2nd.  

Then he made it to 3rd on a passed ball. He scored on the next pitch - another passed ball.  

This happened 6 times in 2 innings!  

It was REALLY hard to watch. The younger team won 15 to 13, and everyone knew why.  

Most ball players hurt deeply when they’ve let their team down.  

I know from personal experience it’s a feeling that is often far worse than the loss of confidence or embarrassment ( I can relate to this very well… I’ll tell you my own story in a minute).  

So I know the parents were doing damage control in the car ride home...  

And I can only imagine what it did to the team’s confidence to compete effectively.  

Whether it’s in youth league or the Major Leagues, it’s incredibly disheartening when the offense can score without even needing to swing the bat.  

Here’s the good news… It doesn’t need to be that way!  

While it was the catching that clearly made the difference in this game, it was NOT the younger catcher’s athleticism that set him apart.  

(I happen to have first hand knowledge of this catcher’s particular journey, because that younger catcher had been my student for several years at this point.)  

So what made the biggest difference for him?  

Why is the younger catcher celebrating victory over pizza with his buddies, enjoying the feeling of being team MVP, while his counterpart is having a much harder day?  

The answer is simple really, and I hope you’ll be encouraged by what I have to share with you below...

They tried to move me to outfield…

Hi, I’m Ryan Lavarnway.  

I’m going to tell you something embarrassing about myself… 

It wasn’t that long ago that I was considered a defensive liability by the organization that drafted me. 

When I asked why I wasn't starting more, my coach told me I wasn't good enough defensively, and that I would be exposed if I caught good pitchers.

OUCH that hurt! 

In fact, the Red Sox tried to get me to become a 1st baseman or an outfielder!  

But I had a passion to catch.  

I loved everything about it. The strategy, being a leader on the field, the challenge of helping a pitcher perform his best, being in the action on every play and knowing that if I did my job well, I could help my team WIN.  

I said I wanted to stay at catcher, so they decided to put me with the best coaches they had available.  

I got better.  

Over time I went from being a defensive liability to be named by Baseball America as the Red Sox top defensive prospect…  

…and ultimately to playing in the Major Leagues with the Red Sox (where I earned a World Series ring in 2013). 

I’ve also played at the Major League level with the Orioles, Braves, and, in this past 2017 season, with the Oakland A’s.

Because of my time in the Major Leagues, I’ve been able to work directly with some of the best coaches on the planet… Marcus Jensen, Bob Melvin, Gary Tuck, Chad Eperson, and others. 

I also was able to play with and learn directly from of the best catchers in the game, guys like David Ross, Matt Wieters, Jason Varitek, AJ Pierzynski, and more.

So why am I telling you this?  

Here's why...  

If my journey has proven anything, it’s that being an elite catcher, doesn’t come from athleticism alone.  

There are plenty of athletes with great tools that are sub-par catchers (like I was).  

Hard work and desire also aren’t enough. Trust me… I had desire, but I needed more than just that.  

Leadership skills help, but also not sufficient.  

It takes LEARNING. You have to learn.  

“A good catcher is worth his weight in gold” 

- Dusty Baker, Manager for the Washington Nationals

Why catching instruction failed me... 

and why it's probably failing you too!

Somehow, catchers remain both the most valuable and the most misunderstood and least trained position in the game. Here's why existing catching instruction failed me... and why it's probably failing you too.

Reason #1 - The cliches don't help much

So SO SO much of the catching instruction out there is just old baseball lore… cliches based on outdated thought processes… and usually not understood properly in the first place.

(Youth coaches are amazing, they’re some of my favorite people on the planet. But let’s be honest, 99% of coaches fall into this category. They know know just enough about catching to be dangerous. )  

For example, if you've spent much time around a baseball field, you've heard the following cliche catching instruction before:  

  • Have soft hands
  • Be a wall back there/ Keep everything in front/throw your body in front of it
  • Quick release/Throw from your ear
  • Stick it/Frame it/ Make it look good/Steal strikes  

So, let's take a minute and assume that the cliches being taught here are correct (often they're completely wrong or misused).  

Stick with me here… Assuming the cliches are right, that’s just like if someone told you to go build a house by saying "pour a foundation" and "build the walls."  

Uhhh… I don’t know how to build a foundation or a wall.  

If you don't ALREADY know how to do those things, you'd probably appreciate a bit more information if you're going to avoid frustration and poor results...


Unfortunately, we frequently do the same thing to our young players.  

There is so much being left out when someone quotes old-school catching philosophies over-simplistically.  

Now imagine the frustration of a catcher who is trying his hardest to follow instructions but still isn't getting the results.  

Can you blame him? The truth is, he isn’t being given enough information! 

And the gaps left by those cliches are setting him up to fail.  

Reason #2 - Instructors don't understand the importance of "adjustability" (or don't know how to teach it)

I can't stress this enough. One of the most common problems with existing catching instruction is when young catchers are told "this is the proper stance" without any regard to whether it actually works for that player.  

It's a rigid approach (usually taught by a coach who's never had to catch a 100 mph fastball) that leaves no room or way to deal with the inevitable variations and unpredictability of the game.  

Learning this was one of the single most important thing that started to unlock my defensive potential as a catcher.  

A lot of coaches blow right past developing the following qualities in all that the catcher does...  

  • Balance
  • Athleticism
  • Powerful explosiveness 

When receiving, blocking and throwing there are so many unpredictable variables. A bad background, shadows, and even a hitter squaring around to bunt can make visibility almost impossible.  

As a catcher you HAVE to be able to make last minute adjustments to find the ball and be able to receive with little to no reaction time.  

Opposing teams run delay steal, double steal, fake steal, fake bunts, and slashes all in an attempt to expose and then take advantage of any weakness in the defense... and the catcher is the first line of defense with the toughest job.  

If you aren’t adjustable by being in an athletic stance and ready and able to react to anything, you won't be ready to defend against everything the other team throws at you.  

The list of unpredictable factors in baseball goes on and on, and a catcher without adjustability will be controlled by them all.  

That's a BAD place to be as a catcher, and it DRAMATICALLY increases the odds of making an error.  

But we don't have to be at the mercy of the baseball and the circumstances.  

YOU can be the one in control...  

...if you know how to read the situation and your body has been trained in how to make the necessary adjustments.  

When you have adjustability, the next time your pitcher misses his spot or throws one in the dirt won't blow up your chances of making the play.  

It also makes for overall more confident catcher (so essential for good leadership), since the fear of making a mistake is replaced by the confidence of knowing you can handle any situation that comes your way.

Reason #3 - Head knowledge isn't enough

The need to turn knowledge into something your body and mind can do…  

Like actually physically do. In an actual real baseball game.  

…And do correctly, consistently, even in high pressure situations - is one thing EVERY great baseball player has in common.

Too often people, especially kids, make the jump from hearing how to do something...  

....straight to being frustrated that they can't do it.  

Baseball is a sport of reflexes. Pounding a bunch of information into your head and then being left alone to figure out how to incorportate it on the baseball field is about as useful as bathing suit in an Alaskan winter.  

Really, that's just setting yourself up for failure. No wonder it leads to frustration!  

So, even when you've got an idea of what proper fielding fundamentals should be, training your body to actually do them is a whole other matter.  

After 10 years of playing professional baseball, I know deeply, intimately well that just having head knowledge is NOT ENOUGH.  

The whole idea is to Learn (head knowledge) + Feel (progression of exercises that lead you into performing the proper physical action for the 1st time) + Execute (again and again and again) = a couple of fancy words called long-term potentiation (The brain's synapses are primed to fire in the proper order) and mylineation (the brain is optimized to perform a skill).  

In other words, you'll get to a point where that new skill becomes automatic... and this is the ONLY WAY to actually master these skills.  

Good instructors know how to take catchers on that journey from just understanding correct fundamentals to actually teaching the body to respond with proper fundamentals... automatically, without thinking.  

Unfortunately, too many well-meaning instructors just don't know how to guide players through that journey.

Reason #4 - Many instructors never tested-what-they-teach at an elite level

I can't count the number of times I've heard ideas thrown around and taught at youth league levels where I thought... 

"That might work now, but it won't work anymore when the game gets faster."  

It is unfortunately INCREDIBLY common for players to learn a "correct" way to do something that no longer works a year or two down the road as the speed of the game increases.  

In fact, I believe this is the #1 reason young players develop bad habits that hold them back when they get older.  

There are a lot of amazing coaches and well-meaning parents who simply have never actually fielded a groundball or line drive coming off of a 95 mph pitch and then needed to throw out a world class runner at first base. It's during moments like that where bad habits and innefficiencies reveal themselves.  

In baseball fielding - even at the youth level - every tenth-of-a-second matters.  

Movements must be efficient without being rushed (which causes errors).  

And since trying to change bad habits in high school or college or pro ball is NOT an easy thing to do, it's important to learn to do things properly early on. You can't wait until the speed of the game increases before you decide it's time to make some adjustments. It may very well be too late by then.  

Furthermore... remember in Reason #3 how we discussed the importance of teaching the body to respond with proper fundamentals... automatically, without thinking? 

Well, instructors who have never played at an elite level, or haven't played in a long time, sometimes have difficulty describing how elite mechanics should feel. 

They simply don't know, or don't remember.  

It is unfortunately INCREDIBLY common for players to learn a "correct" way to do something that no longer works a year or two down the road as the speed of the game increases.  

Reason #5 - The Boulder Effect

Errors, past balls, wild pitches, and consistently allowing stolen bases.... they are crushing, and not just for the catcher. 

Before you write me off and say "Duh, yes, we all know this," let me explain what The Boulder Effect is.  

Clearly, a catcher who hasn't learned correct, elite fundamentals is more likely to make mistakes or miss opportunities, but it's more than that

Until players have come to a deep understanding of defensive fundamentals, they're far more likely to... 

  • Have a harder time recovering mentally after making an error
  • Have a more difficult time self-correcting when things are feeling "off"
  • Become a victim (or cause) of those days when team morale is low

This means that one simple mistake can quickly snowball into many mistakes... becoming a bad day, or a bad week. Or a bad season... simply because the catcher doesn't have the training or experience to be able to self-correct.

I know that feeling.... like nothing can go right, and everyone is watching you. Every pitch can be a chance to start doing well again, or another chance to mess up. The pressure on a catcher is unrelenting.  

And when you don't feel confident, it feels like everyone, even your own teammates and pitcher aren't on your team anymore. Everything. Every pitch... is a battle you have to fight and find a way to win on your own. 

You feel like an island.  

Recovering from allowing multiple past balls, or stolen bases or a big run... can feel like you're trying to stop a boulder that's already begun to roll down the mountain.  

And it's so much worse when you're not exactly sure how it happened or how to fix it!  

Or even worse... you doubt your ability.  

The difference with catching and the other positions is that there's no time to feel sorry for yourself. No hope that the next ball doesn't come to you. 

The next pitch is coming to you... and so is every pitch after that. 

And you feel responsible to help your pitcher and your team.

At least if I know how it feels to do it right, know what I'm supposed to do... it changes the conversation in my head. "Finish the inning. I've got this."  

That's the difference between a catcher who understands his craft vs one who doesn't. 

When all a catcher has to rely on is cliches and instruction that he doesn't really understand how to follow... that soul-crushing feeling after you've made an error can linger for many days or even weeks!

"...a good catcher gets to the major leagues quicker than other positions..."

- Annonymous 21 year veteran scout

So naturally, that leads to the next question...

How do you become an elite catcher?

This is actually not an easy question for most people to answer. 

Recently a coach told me about how his son, who has been playing on elite competitive football teams for several years now, was fortunate enough to have a former NFL player for his coach this year. 

After his first practice, his son came home very excited. His words were...

"Dad, I learned more in practice today than I did all last season!"

That's the advantage of learning from someone who has tried and tested what really works at an elite level. However, finding a coach like that is easier said than done!

Does any of this sound familiar?

"My kid attends pro baseball camps"

Camps are great... I know because I teach them from time to time.  

But how much can anyone really teach a player in one day? Or a weekend?

I sat down and did the math, and I estimated it would take me 12 months of working with a catcher consistently every week to teach him - and get him to the place where he can actually DO everything a highly effective catcher would need to know.  

Twelve months!  

No matter how hard I try, I can't cram all of that knowledge into a 1 day camp. And even if I could, it takes time, plus consistent and strategic practice to get your body to be able to execute what your mind knows it needs to do.  

"Well, can't coach teach catching fundamentals?"

Coaches are amazing. I've been priveledged to work with hundreds of great coaches, many of whom have shaped me to be the kind of person I am today. I have more respect for coaches than I can express in words.

Unfortunately, the truth is that most coaches just don't really know and understand catching on a deep level. Even of the professional coaches I've worked with, I can count on one hand the number who truly understand and could articulate how elite catching fundamentals work. 

I do, however, find it interesting that almost all of them can recognize an elite catcher when they see one! (The footwork is a dead giveaway)

"There's tons of free instruction on the internet"

Is it really free when you have to invest hours and hours sifting through junk to find a few nuggets of gold?

Sure there is loads of free "instruction" on the internet...

....Blogs, forums, YouTube, Facebook groups.

....Self-proclaimed gurus.

....Conflicting information.

The problem is, it’s usually just not very good.

You might be tired of sorting through bits and pieces of debates and "how to's"... all of which may, or may not be reliable.

(Honestly, I can't think of anything worse than sifting through an ocean of highly suspicious "advice" on the internet.)

Most likely you'll have wasted hours of time and you're still not sure of the best way to teach, demonstrate or practice catching fundamentals...

Or you'll find loads of information that scratches the surface and never dives deep, leaving big holes and you scratching your head, still wondering exactly how to get from A to Z.

"We'll just figure it out on our own"

Learning proper fundamentals on your own when you don’t have much guidance is process of trial and error. 

It’s time consuming, but it can work.

The problem with too much trial and error in baseball is that many times we develop bad habits. 

Those bad habits then become so physically and mentally engrained in use that even when we learn a better way to do something, we have very hard time making the adjustment. 

It can take years to unlearn a habit like that. 

"What about private lessons? "

Have you ever asked your child what they learned after a private lesson, only to have them say "I dunno" 

Too bad you can't watch a replay of the lessons, so you can practice together during the rest of the week to help your son or daughter master what they learned... right?

A good instructor doesn't spend the whole hour teaching either. You might only learn 1 or 2 things per lesson. At $80 to $100 a pop, private lessons can easily cost thousands of dollars to learn everything needed to MASTER good catching fundamentals. 

And here is the biggest problem of all...

Most private instructors really only focus on hitting and they don't understand catching at a level deep enough to teach it properly. They just zoom through the basics so they can get to hitting. Its not always their fault, because often the instructor has never spent the time learning the ins and outs of defense because defense isn’t as sexy as hitting.  

I know this from personal experience. I looked, but for me, good catching instruction was so scarce that I didn’t actually find a good catching instructor until I got to pro ball.  

When I was in high school, it just didn't exist anywhere!

This is a problem, and I feel the pain of eager players who know in their hearts they have what it takes to be a great catcher and a great leader on the field. 

What about a weekend clinic for only my team?

This can be a great way to accelerate your child's learning and also your team's defensive effectiveness to win more games. I've taught clinics like this before with pretty good results. However, it also comes with a hefty price tag... $2000 and up. 

What about a comprehensive online program that you can do at your own pace and will lead you step-by-step to achieving the results you want? 

l've always loved online courses. Why? Because they often represent years of hard work condensed into a simple, easy to follow step-by-step plan...

...and that's exactly what my online new course, The Elite Catcher, is all about.  

It's an end-to-end training that uses video, interactive course work, and a strategically ordered learning progression of practice drills. It begins by building a strong foundation and then building up layer upon layer to mastery of advanced skills.  

The entire system is designed to bring a anyone - even a complete beginner - to mastery of catching fundamentals and beyond.  

I will walk you, step-by-step, through the process.  

Together, we’ll work toward mastering the elite catching fundamentals that will give you the confidence to do your job well and be a leader on the field, and will bring coaches and recruiters knocking.  

“It’s the hardest position to play, by far,” Tim McCarver said. “People don’t realize half of what goes into it.”

- McCarver caught 1,387 major league games from 1959 to 1979

The Elite Catcher is an easy-to-follow, strategically progressive program for teaching Major League catching fundamentals.

In my time as a catcher with 5 MLB organizations, I've learned catching from some of the best coaches and players on the planet.  

It’s my unique journey from an obvious defensive liability to being ranked the Red Sox’s #1 minor league defensive prospect…. and ultimately to catching in the Major Leagues with several of those teams… that has given me a passion for sharing what I’ve learned (Mama always said “Pay it forward!”).  

It’s the knowledge of catching I’ve collected from all those great minds, and my own experience, that I’ve distilled into the 8 key modules in this online course. 

And here's exactly how it works:

Using online video, interactive course work, and a strategic progression of practice drills, I'll show you everything you need to take a catcher from A to Z when learning elite defensive fundamentals, including:  

  • The exact receiving mechanics to get more strikes called, improve blocking, and prevent runners from stealing bases.
  • How Major League catchers improve their pop time to 2nd
  • A strategic Learning Progression Checklist that guides your progress through 55 practice drills, from beginner to very advanced 
  • Lifetime (forever) access to the entire library of video instruction, learning exercises and practice drills, conveniently organized by skill type and level of mastery
  • AND LOTS MORE… see below for details  

I'll show you the exact catching techniques, and together we’ll work to master skills needed to be a confident leader on the field and to help your team win games (psst… These are also the same skills that will get you noticed by coaches, recruiters and scouts.)

What people are saying

The fundamentals did not look like this before studying your program. 

Hands down this program has been a game changer. 

My son just transferred and took the starting catcher spot from a 4 year varsity senior.... as a Sophomore! Sorry not sorry, hard work pays off. 

Thank you so much!!!

- Irvin Bounds, Head baseball coach at Victor Valley JuCo & Father of high school aged catcher

Madison Younginer, LA Dodgers


" I can't recommend a better guy to learn from... he's one of my favorite catchers to throw to. Pay attention to what he says and learn!"

- Madison Younginer, LA Dodgers

 “ After getting instruction from Ryan, my son’s catching went to a new level. He quickly became one of the most important and dependable catchers on our team. ” 

Head Coach, Niwot Cougars 14U

Daniel Gossett | Oakland A's Pitcher


"Ryan's mental approach to the game is fantastic. He knows how to get guys out, and he always made me feel like we were a team." - Daniel Gossett | Oakland A's Pitcher

Dad is a former college catcher with competive sons

The sales pitch that got me originally to purchase this related to the cost of individual lessons compared to the program.  

When you really break it down, not only is the cost much lower when factoring in time, travel and the lessons themselves, but the ability to have the lessons at your fingertips and refer to them over and over is invaluable.  

I caught for 15 years into college. Since, there has been very little focus on developing catchers at the youth level at least in my experience, teaching my kids what little I know helped them perform well and get noticed.  

However, in the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve begun to look for more structured training for them as my tool chest empties.  

What I’ve found is that most catching programs focus on blocking and throwing.  

Generally, it’s mechanical and can be shown easily on a video. Hundreds of drills are available (and some work and some do not). If you watch these, they spend most of the time focusing on these aspects and throw in some short clips on receiving or some other aspect which is drillable.  

The Elite Catcher is different.  

It’s holistic therapy for the position. It’s everything a catcher should be doing while on the field.  

It’s training and game preparation through performance.  

More importantly, Ryan not only covers what the catcher should be DOING, but what they should be THINKING about.  

It’s not only the what, it’s the why!  

I have often been watching the videos with my boys and Ryan will speak to why something should be done. In many cases, I didn’t know why and have never been able to teach my boys that.  

Not only is Ryan helping teach the movements they already know, he is reinforcing why they should be done. And as I mentioned earlier, the training is comprehensive.  

The program contains many things that are not taught elsewhere.  

 With all that, the program is logically arranged in easy to digest segments.  

We may be working on a particular area and be able to watch a specific video over and over because it specifically focuses on that task. 

 - Josh Brancel, Father of 3 boys | Cleveland, Ohio  

Current college coach, working with his son...

Father and son, starting from scratch

"First of all I really want to thank you for making this catcher education.

We have tried some other tutorials and bought several different books, dvd’s etc. but none of them has been this good!

Yours is very easy to understand and follow the instructions.  

My son’s starting point was, absolutely zero. He have had very little education thru his baseballclub here in Sweden. It’s been more like; ”Sit here behind the batter and catcher the balls the best you can”.  

Due to this my son’s learning curve has been very steep and he manage a lot of the different skills that a catcher needs to handle in the position.  

Example: when we joined the education my son had absolutely no clue about how to block and why.

With the easy first steps and also the drills it did not take long before he understood how to perform and today he is absolutely fearless when the baseball comes in high speed.

His receiving technique has improved a lot and he is very comfortable in his position now, so he really looks forward to this season!

Once again, THANK YOU from both of us.  

 -Bengt Brosser, Father from Sweden  

"Both of my boys blocking has improved, even to the point of now they enjoy trying to block off a pitching machine!"

“Initially, I was hesitant in registering and paying for an online baseball course.  

However, finding quality catching instruction from a person who’s played at the highest level is NOT easy to find.  

What Doug and Ryan have done is put a 21st century touch on instructing baseball!  

Both of my sons (Nathan and Sean) utilized the website, and the app on their iPods to watch the drills during otherwise idle time, like riding on the bus to and from school.  

Since they could watch as many times as they needed, this translated into better understanding of the drills when it came time to practice them.  

Ryan does a great job explaining not just how to perform the drill, but also explains why it is important to perform a certain way.  

Executing the practice plans included in the course have helped Sean calm his stance down, so that he’s now catching the ball with his hand and eyes and looks much more comfortable behind the dish.  

Nathan’s pickoff throws to first have drastically improved thanks to the drills presented in the course.  

Both of my boys blocking has improved, even to the point of now they enjoy trying to block off a pitching machine!  

My boys and I are very happy that we purchased this course, and I highly recommend it because of both its breadth and depth of instruction.  

Well done, Doug and Ryan!”

- Tom Phillips - Father of 2 boys - Dayton, Ohio

Coach Larry Reasbeck, Colorado Stealth, 11U Majors


Inside this Program

Module 1 - Signaling Pitches

  • Proper signaling stance to keep your pitcher happy and your signals a secret from the other team
  • How teams are stealing your signs (#3 is one you've probably never thought about before)
  • What to do when your signals are stolen
  • Basic to advanced strategies for concealing signs when there’s a runner on 2nd base
  • How to have good communication with the pitcher
  • 3 solutions for when your pitcher has trouble seeing your signals

Module 2 - Receiving Stances

One of the most important ways a catcher can influence the outcome of a game is with good receiving. Good catching amplifies good pitching, while bad receiving will deflate even the best pitcher in a hurry.  

Non-Action stance

  • Proper Non-Action (“Primary”) stance and when to use it
  • Comparing traditional stances with the pros and cons of new techniques big leaguers are using
  • What is the preferred method or methods for setting up behind home plate to give a pitcher a target? Glove-wise..body-wise?
  • The correct athletic stance for your body type
  • One simple secret to help with flexibility problems & get lower in your stance
  • Ideal stance and glove position for receiving low, glove-side pitches
  • Introduction to stealing strikes (“framing”) and Major League trends
  • Keys to staying fresh and avoiding injury

Action stance

  • Proper stance with runners on base or potential dropped 3rd strike
  • The key to unlock your hips, get lower and feel more athletic if you feel stiff or awkward in your action stance.
  • 1 simple stance tip Major Leaguers are using to improve their pop time to 2nd base (And the critical mistake to avoid when you try it).
  • The common myth about how to throw faster that’s just flat wrong (and could be putting you in danger).
  • A simple, but often-overlooked key to being more powerful and athletic in your action stance
  • The proper balance between receiving and handling action on the bases  

BONUS Video - Why some catchers get hit by foul balls more often than others

Module 3 - Receiving

This is 1st and MOST IMPORTANT pillar of catching.

  • What good receiving is & what a pitcher wants in his catcher
  • Basic to advanced receiving skills
  • The 3 different techniques for receiving the low pitch that Major Leaguers use… know the pros & cons of each
  • 5 tricks that will make more pitches look like strikes without the umpire even realizing
  • 2 incredibly common myths about proper receiving technique (To sway or not to sway?)
  • The common mistake that’s making the umpire your enemy (bad idea!)
  • Which of the 3 ways to catch a low pitch works for you
  • How to manupulate the strike zone and make it larger where the pitcher is trying to locate
  • What a personal relax mechanism is and tips for choosing your own
  • The common mistake that makes catching a lot harder (makes it harder to see and catch the ball)
  • Optimal glove position to reduce injury
  • Why “anticipation” is one of the most powerful tools of elite receiving (what it is and how to do it)
  • Learning Progression Checklist - Your guide to advancing through the 3 stages of receiving drills
  • Receiving Practice Drills - 16 additional videos, Ranges from beginner to very advanced

"A pitch-in-the-dirt is an opportunity… either to be embarrassed or to shine."

Module 4 - Blocking

If you’ve ever seen a ball-in-the-dirt get away from the catcher and the runner advances or scores, you know how demoralizing it can be for the team, the catcher, and especially for the pitcher.  

No catcher wants to have that moment on repeat in his head for days and days afterward! That’s why this module covers…

  • How to soften the ball and keep it close while blocking
  • How to increase blocking range
  • The 8 elements of perfect blocking form, and the biggest mistakes to avoid
  • The one little trick that can save you if your blocking is late
  • The 2 methods pros use for getting into blocking form, and the pros and cons each
  • Proper form for blocking to the side quickly and effectively
  • How to read the game to know when blocking is mostly likely to be needed.
  • 2 keys to avoiding common catching injuries (No body wants to sit out the season!)  
  • 19 blocking drills, ranging from a basic learning progression (to help conquer fear and bad habits) to advanced drills, which are designed to develop elite reflexes and technique -  

Module 5 - Throwing

Throwing is the 3rd essential pillar of catching. In this module we'll cover...

  • Throwing to 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases
  • How to speed up your pop time without making more errors  
  • How to control baserunners and keep them from advancing
  • The exact throwing power position that every elite catcher needs to achieve for maximum arm strength and accuracy
  • How to react when you see a runner take off to steal a base (Know your options!)
  • Best location for your throw to allow the infielder to successfully tag the runner
  • When to throw from your knees and when NOT to
  • The secret to a powerful throw from your knees
  • Proper footwork for pitches off the plate. You'll be equipped to handle even the most difficult pitch locations.
  • Proper footwork for throws to 3rd base (We'll finally settle the question of going in front or behind the runner)
  • 14 Throwing drill videos, organized into 4 phases - Builds from the beginner learning progression to very advanced
  • The 2 simple “cheating” moves that help you make faster throws.
  • The biggest mistakes that slow down your pop time and cause errant throws (and how to avoid them!)

Module 6 - Tag plays

This module teaches you how to apply a powerful, effective tag that the runner can't escape and the umpire can't miss! (and how to stay safe while while doing it)

  • What are the "new rules" and how to correctly handle plays at home plate
  • Footwork and body positioning to handle throws from any part of the field (including bad throws), and still apply a successful tag
  • The "moving baseline" and what that means for the catcher's positioning on the tag
  • The #1 mistake that catchers make during tag plays that causes serious injury (and what to do to stay safe)
  • Swipe method vs one knee method vs 2 knee method - pros, cons, and common mistakes for each
  • How to counteract the runner's momentum

In photo above: Baltimore Orioles Ryan Lavarnway tags Blue Jay's Kevin Pillar; April 23, 2015 at Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario

Module 7 - Catcher Pop Ups

Pop ups to the catcher can be tricky. In this module Ryan teaches you how to deal with them so you can get the out.

  • 4 most common mistakes that cause catchers to drop pop flies (& how to avoid them)
  • How to anticipate spin and where the ball will land
  • Key protocols for when to take off your mask and WHERE to put it
  • 5 Tips for dealing with the backstop when fielding a pop fly
  • Options for dealing with sun in your eyes, pros and cons of each
  • Priorities - Who can call off the catcher, and who you can call off

Module 8 - The Savvy Catcher Knows...

When these plays happen, they often are a major game-changer… a momentum shift. When you know how to execute like an elite catcher, that momentum will shift into your favor. 

  • When and how to execute a pitchout
  • Home to 1st double plays
  • How to field bunts
  • What the catcher needs to know about rundowns (especially the one mistake to NEVER make)
  • When you need to signal your defense, and how to keep your signals from getting picked up by the other team

What are the bonuses?

Bonus #1 - Catch Bootcamp REPLAY

$240 Value, FREE

20 CATCHER WORKOUTS - Get in your daily receiving, blocking and throwing reps along side a Major League catcher.

When you join the Elite Catcher - Private VIP Facebook Group, you get...

  • Direct access to UPLOAD YOUR VIDEO, ask questions and get personalized feedback on your technique, directly from Major League catcher Ryan Lavarnway
  • Access to the full Elite Catcher BOOTCAMP REPLAY - That's ALL 20 DAILY WORKOUTS with a Major League catcher that you can use again and again
  • Access to an awesome community of catchers, parents and coaches who can offer help, support, and encouragement

Bonus #1 - The Art of the Mound Visit

Knowing when and how to take a mound visit is more critical than most people even realize... and easier to get wrong than you think!

  • How to build a feeling of teamwork and trust between pitcher and catcher
  • When NEVER to take a mound visit
  • How to know the best times to take a mound visit, and when it can cause more harm than good
  • What to say to the pitcher to help him perform his best
  • How to talk to the pitcher so that your message will be well-received
  • Alternative ways to communicate without taking a mound visit
  • Common mechanical mistakes that pitchers make - how to recognize them and what to say to the pitcher
  • How to talk to pitchers during a mound visit - keys to being heard, plus top things to NEVER say
  • Common mistakes that are wrecking your pitcher’s confidence

Bonus #2 - Warm Up, Mobility & Arm Care Routines

Get loose, improve your mobility, strengthen and keep your arm healthy with these bonus routines.

Part 1 - Dynamic Warm up Routine

This will be your daily warm up routine.  

It's the same dynamic warm up routine Ryan uses before every practice and Major League game. He uses it to get his body loose, to avoid injury and be ready to perform at an elite level. 

You can easily follow along with the video or use the printable routine guides - Your choice!

Part 2 - Catcher Mobility Routine

Increase catcher mobility with an easy-to-follow stretching routine.

Catcher mobility is key, both for to maximize on-field performance and for avoiding injury.

This catcher-specific routine was designed to increase mobility in the areas that most catchers struggle with, including hips and ankles. 

Precisely because mobility has always been a challenge for Ryan, he took special care to develop this mobility routine over years of working with world class trainers, such as Loren Landow. 

Ryan uses this routine 4 times per week to maximize his mobility, and now you can too... Simply follow along with the video, which includes a timer for the stretches, or print it out.  

Part 3 - Arm Care Routines

The truth about arm care, about this type of "pre hab" arm routine, was discovered when pitchers started coming back from surgery throwing harder than they did before! It was NOT the surgery that made their arms stronger and healthier, it was the carefully selected rehab exercises that they now did religiously.

Now, elite baseball players use these arm exercises to strengthen their throwing arm and KEEP IT HEALTHY.

This bonus includes 3 different arm care routines, with guidelines for when and how often to use them. Remember, take care of your arm because no arm = no baseball!  

You can choose to follow along with the videos, or use the printable version. Alternate the routines to keep it fresh, or stick with the one you prefer.

Bonus #3 - Strategies for Calling Games

Handling pitchers and reading hitters is a huge part of the catcher’s (and coach’s) job in managing the game. 

This module is all about knowing how to call the right pitches for pitchers, for the game situation, to exploit the hitters weakness, and to use strategic sequencing to help make your pitcher unhittable!

Essential Keys to effective pitch calling

  • The 3 mistakes that can wreck even the best pitch-calling plans
  • How to maximize the pitchers strengths without sacrificing good situational strategy
  • Key phrases to use with your pitcher to get him back on a good track - and WHEN to use them
  • 4 “Rules of Thumb” you can follow without being predictable
  • How to read hitters to know their weakness  

Strategic pitch sequencing

  • The Dempster strategy for tempting the hitter
  • Breslow’s technique for keeping batter on his toes when facing him multiple times in a single game. 
  • How to make your fastball look even faster to the hitter.
  • How to use changing eye level, perceived velocity, and angles to make pitches way more effective and difficult for a batter to hit 


Situational Pitching

  • How situations affect pitch calling
  • The #1 situational mistake that gives batters a free hit
  • What to do when the batter is trying to advance a runner
  • Strategies to keep pitch counts low​
  • Save your pitcher by knowing when to go for a ground ball vs when to try for a strike out
  • WARNING - The 4 situations where you need to avoid being predictable, because the other teams are looking for patterns on  



Your investment in this training is backed by a 30 Day 100% Money-Back Guarantee.

Here’s how it works:

When you enroll in the course today, you have a FULL 30 days to go through the course 100% risk free. If you feel as if the course just didn’t work for you, email our support team, show us you did the work, and we’ll issue a prompt and courteous refund where you’ll get 100% of your money back.

Why do we offer such a lenient guarantee?

I know, without a shadow of doubt, that this training program can help you become a better catcher... or if you're a coach, to help your catchers see tremendous progress. And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and prove it to you by offering such a lenient guarantee.

Why do I ask that you show me the work?

That’s simple. I only want people to join this program if they really want to be better catchers.. And if that’s you, you’re going to do the work anyway, so you will have no problem providing it. I don’t want any “lookie loos” who want to waste my time (and their own time).

The only question is this…


The Elite Catcher

  • Major League Catching Technique for any age - No stale, outdated coaching here. Worlds Series winning Major League catcher teaches BOTH tried-and-true classic mechanics and the freshest modern catching techniques currently being used by the best players in the world.
  • 3 hours, 33 minutes, and 43 seconds of video instruction from MLB catcher - Learn elite framing, blocking and throwing technique; how to work with pitchers, improve pop times, pick-offs, bunt defense, double plays, and everything else an elite catcher needs to be the confident leader on the field
  • Practice Drill Learning Progression - Practice drills for are organized into stages. Use the learning progression checklist to known when it’s time to advance to a higher degree of difficulty for each of the 3 major pillars of catching (receiving, blocking, and throwing) .
  • Library of Drill videos - 60+ videos teaching & demonstrating proper execution for each practice drill
  • Lifetime access- Work at your own pace... Use the program again and again, year after year
  • Free ios Mobile app - Easy access to your videos and practice plans anywhere you have a signal (No app for Android users, but the good news is Android can still get all content using their normal mobile browser)
  • Interactive Course Work - This is a game changer! Was the student really listening? Did he accidentally miss something important? Use the online quizzes and get instant feedback; Clarify and reinforce key concepts; Research shows quizzes can improve learning by as much as 100%! 
  • 30 Day No-Risk Guarantee - Take 1 full month to try it out and if you're not impressed, just let us know and we'll issue a full refund

Are you ready to become a more confident, more sought after catcher? Click the button below to enroll.

Better than private lessons... for a fraction of the cost!

Private lessons - 1 per week for 1 year = $100 x 52 = $5200

2 Payments of


Immediate access
Just $250 today

Join The Elite Catcher Training Program

1 Payment of


Immediate, life-time access with one-time payment of $497

PS. A message from Coach Ryan...

“ I've condensed nearly a decade of learning from the best catchers & coaches ever to play the game into this highly effective and easy-to-follow learning progression of teaching, drills, and interactive course work.  

I’ve estimated it would take 12 to 18 months of private lessons to help a student master everything I put in this course.  

The going rate for lessons where I live is $100 per hour. So, one lesson per week for a year would cost $5,200!  

And the worst part of that scenario? Even with all that money spent, he wouldn't have the benefit of being able to go back and review or refresh what he learned!  

To me, that is unacceptable.  

Learning elite defense changed my life, so I want to make sure it's not only "the lucky few" who have access to this information.  

Now, after more than a year in development working with Pro Baseball Insider, that goal has finally become a reality through The Elite Catcher program."  

- Ryan Lavarnway, Course Instructor & MLB catcher (Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics)

Have questions? Click here or email Sarah@probaseballinsider.com

* A standard license can be used by a single coach plus any of his current assistant coaches, year after year after year after... (forever). 

** If you are interested in purchasing this program for a league or use in a commercial facility, please contact Sarah(at)probaseballinsider.com.

Do you need to purchase a license for your entire league or commercial facility? Contact Sarah(at)probaseballinsider.com for group discounts or league fundraising information