Published on

Catching Techniques: Using Hands Effectively

  • avatar
    Sports Tips

Catching Techniques: Using Hands Effectively


Catching a football is more than just a primary function of a receiver or a tight end; it's an art. A finely tuned skill set differentiates an elite tight end from the rest. This article delves into the nuances of catching techniques, specifically focusing on hand positioning, high-pointing the ball, and securing the catch. These skills are often the cornerstones of a tight end's success on the gridiron.

Key Techniques

1. Hand Positioning

Hand positioning is pivotal for making sure the ball sticks when it's thrown your way. Proper technique can be summed up in the acronym C.A.T.C.H.:

  • C: Create a diamond - Form a diamond shape using your thumbs and index fingers. This helps in aligning your hands to the trajectory of the ball.
  • A: Adjust to the height - Bring your hands up for high throws and down for low ones, but always keep the diamond form.
  • T: Thumbs together - Thumbs together on high passes; pinky fingers together on low passes.
  • C: Close the hands - Once the ball makes contact, close your hands around it quickly.
  • H: Hold tight - Secure the ball firmly as you tuck it away.

2. High-Pointing the Ball

High-pointing involves catching the football at its highest point, reaching as high as possible to snatch the ball out of the air. This is especially useful in contested catches or jump-ball scenarios:

  • Timing: Jump when the ball is at its peak in flight, ensuring you have the highest chance of securing it.
  • Body Control: Maintain balance and leverage by using your body to shield the defender.
  • Reach: Extend your arms fully to maximize your reach.
  • Eyes on the Ball: Never lose sight of the ball; keep your eyes on it till it’s in your grasp.

3. Securing the Catch

Securing the catch is the final and most crucial step. All efforts can go in vain if the ball is not secured post-reception:

  • Tuck Technique: Immediately tuck the ball close to your body, between the elbow and ribcage.
  • Two Hands: Use both hands to initially secure the catch before transferring it to the preferred grip.
  • Strong Grip: Squeeze the ball tight to avoid any potential knock-outs from defenders.
  • Ball Security Awareness: Be mindful of defenders trying to strip the ball; always cover the nose of the football to prevent fumbles.

Tips from the Pros

Here's a table summarizing tips from notable NFL tight ends:

Rob Gronkowski"Always catch with your eyes, not just your hands."
Travis Kelce"Run through the catch, never slow down."
George Kittle"Engage your core for added balance and strength.”
Antonio Gates"Visualize the catch before it happens, it’s all mental."

Drill Suggestions

Here are a couple of drills to improve these techniques:

  • Hand Positioning Drill: Practice catching with the diamond formation using a partner who throws the ball at various heights and angles.
  • High-Point Drill: Use a rebounder or a coach to throw high balls, practice jumping and catching at the peak.
  • Tucking Drill: Immediately after each catch, practice tucking the ball into your body while running through a gauntlet of simulated defenders.


Mastering these catching techniques will elevate any tight end’s game, giving them an edge over defenders and making them a reliable target. Regular practice, combined with mental preparation, will lead to consistent performance and the development of a truly unstoppable tight end.

Further Reading

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the science of catching and enhance your game, check out these resources:

  • "Catching the Football: A Comprehensive Guide" by John Madden
  • "The Receiver’s Edge" by Jerry Rice

Tight ends, it's time to step up your game and make those catches count!