From Home Plate to Life’s Challenges: How Baseball Catchers Excel On and Off the Field


Parents, this is one huge reason you should be happy that your son or daughter is a baseball catcher.  Below, I’m going to cover 15 life skills that baseball catchers are learning through the unique experience of being a baseball catcher (or softball catcher).

But first, I want to share what really put this on my radar… Harvard School of Business

​I found this article about catchers in the Harvard Business Review and I had to share it with you (see the excerpt below).

In business, there’s an approach to training future organizational leaders, called “The Catcher Hypothesis.”

Yes, it’s literally called The Catcher Hypothesis.

And it’s entirely developed from the observation that baseball catchers often make incredible leaders.

In short, the The Catcher Hypothesis teaches companies to ask, “How can we create a position in our company that is as good as the baseball catcher position at developing critical leadership skills?”

This idea is being taught in university business schools!  CEO’s of major organizations are looking at the position of baseball catcher and saying, “Wow, we need to learn from this.”

If this doesn’t convince you that being a baseball catcher can help to develop key leadership skills in your child, then I don’t know what what will.

Check out what the Harvard Business Review has to say about baseball catchers (below) and then comment if you agree with this post.  I would love to hear your story… how have you seen this play out in your own life?



The Catcher Hypothesis in leadership development

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Business Review’s Making Mobility Matter, originally published here.


“The role of the catcher in professional baseball illustrates the power of a single position to develop leaders.

There are 30 major-league baseball teams operating in North America.  Each team has one distinct on-field leader, the field manager. Traditionally, almost all the managers have played baseball professionally.

Among the 30 managers at the start of 2008, a disproportionate number of them – 12, to be specific – had played as catchers.

Considering that on a typical 25-man team only two or three members are catchers, and that catching is only one of nine positions on the baseball field, the fact that 12 out of 30 managers are ex-catchers is no fluke.

Indeed, the probability that 12 out of 30 are ex-catchers by chance is less than one in 1,000.

What is it about the catcher position that makes it a launching pad for future leaders?

  1. Perhaps it is the perspective: Catchers are the only ones who face all their teammates.
  2. They are also always closest to the opponent at the start of the action.
  3. Complementing their unique perspective on the game are the demanding cognitive skills honed by the position, such as the ability to keep track of many things at once (pitch selection, opponents’ base running, teammates’ defensive alignment, and so forth) while making decisions quickly.
  4. The position is instructive in the art of balancing the roles of cheerleader and taskmaster, as when dealing with an underachieving pitcher.

It could be, of course, that players who are destined to become managers gravitate to the catcher position.

True as this may be, we believe that it is no less true that the position itself – far more than any other position – develops the leader.”

Baseball Catchers – 15 Life Skills Learned

Being a baseball catcher can teach individuals a wide range of valuable life skills, including:

1. **Leadership:** Catchers often act as the “field generals” of the team, making decisions and calling plays. This role fosters leadership and decision-making skills.

2. **Communication:** Catchers need to communicate with pitchers, coaches, and the entire team. Effective communication is crucial for success on and off the field.

3. **Resilience:** Catchers endure physical demands and often deal with painful collisions at the plate. This teaches resilience and the ability to bounce back from setbacks.

4. **Concentration:** Catchers must stay focused on every pitch, which improves their ability to concentrate and remain alert in various life situations.

5. **Adaptability:** The unpredictability of baseball helps catchers develop adaptability and the ability to adjust to changing circumstances.

6. **Responsibility:** Catchers are responsible for many aspects of the game, including managing the pitcher, calling plays, and making split-second decisions, instilling a sense of responsibility.

7. **Teamwork:** Baseball is a team sport, and catchers learn the importance of working with teammates and supporting each other.

8. **Problem-Solving:** Catchers often need to strategize and solve problems during a game, which sharpens their problem-solving abilities.

9. **Work Ethic:** Hours of practice and training are required to excel in baseball, instilling a strong work ethic.

10. **Time Management:** Balancing school, practice, games, and other commitments teaches time management skills.

11. **Perseverance:** The grind of a baseball season, with its ups and downs, teaches perseverance and the value of hard work.

12. **Accountability:** Catchers learn to take responsibility for their actions, both on and off the field.

13. **Mental Toughness:** They must stay mentally strong in high-pressure situations, which is a valuable skill in all aspects of life.

14. **Sportsmanship:** Learning to win and lose with grace and respect for opponents is a key life lesson from baseball.

15. **Respect:** Catchers must respect the umpire’s decisions, coaches, and fellow players, fostering respect for authority and peers.

These life skills learned as a baseball catcher can extend beyond the field and benefit individuals in various aspects of their personal and professional lives.


Free Catching Videos – Would you like 6 free videos on proper catching technique, taught by former Washington Nats catcher Cole Leonida?  Click here to get the free catching videos.

More than any other position in baseball, catching devlops key leadership and life skills


Source:  Nalbantian, H.R. & Guzzo, R.A. published in March 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Click here to view the full text.

About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies



  1. Avatar für Luis Azpuru

    Wow this such a great and very interesting aticle i was very intrigued by the aticle and willlet my son thats a catcher in little league in guatemala resd and understand this so he can continue being inspired to be a great catcher

  2. Avatar für Anne

    I don’t necessarily agree with this. They need to look at the kids who can play any position and play it well including catching and pitching. They need to factor in GPA. Motivation. Nothing hurts a team more than a catcher who doesn’t strive to be better. Or one who shouldn’t be playing it in the first place. This article mentions nothing about the big picture. And in the wake of the college cheating scams let’s not forget to carefully look at how the player earned ( or didn’t) the spot. This article mentions nothing about the hard work the kids put in to playing catcher.

  3. Avatar für Steve

    Love the article, Doug…

    As a former pro ball player myself and one who’s managed now in my post-career life, I think one aspect of catchers and good leaders is that before one can effectively manage and lead another, he/she must first effectively manage and lead himself.

    Good managers are good self-managers, mainly, their own mindset and emotions.

    Secondly, most catchers spend the majority of the time concerned, not about themselves but about another, their pitcher, who he’s helping to stay focused on the task at hand while also keeping the big picture in mind.

    Just my 2 cents…

    Love it!

  4. Avatar für Bill Bagley

    Catchers are truly suited to their role when their behavioral and cognitive traits are aligned to the position. does MLB or MiLB use any psychometric assessments to get the most out of the player, by placing him in the right position and on the right team? The NFL uses the Wonderlic Test to measure cognitive speed. What have you come across regarding assessments that are used by teams or by the league?

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