ARE KNEE SAVERS GOOD OR BAD? by Xan Barksdale
I wish I had a dollar every time someone asked me about Knee Savers…I’d be on my way to Fiji right now!
In this post I want to share with you the truthabout Knee Savers and to go over some of the common myths. Let class begin…
DO KNEE SAVERS MAKE YOU LAZY?
This is by far the most common question I receive. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who think that wearing Knee Savers means the catcher must be lazy.
Wearing a particular hat doesn’t make you smart, wearing running shoes doesn’t make you fast, and wearing Knee Savers doesn’t make you lazy.
There is no magic equipment out there that can change your work ethic, hustle, or desire to win…for the positive or the negative. Being lazy or not is a characteristic of the player regardless of what they’re wearing.
If we took this to Myth Busters they would say that this myth is ‘BUSTED.’
ARE KNEE SAVERS BAD FOR YOUR KNEES?
There’s a myth out there that says Knee Savers are not only useless in preventing knee injuries, they’re actually harmful. How could a product with a name like Knee Savers actually be bad for your knees?
Critics say that when Knee Savers are worn incorrectly they create a wedge between the femur and tibia (the large leg bones) and this causes added stress on the knee joint.
I will be the first to say that Knee Savers do not need to be worn on the upper part of the shinguards (right below the knee), but they should be worn on the lower two straps so that the top of the Knee Saver is around the bottom of the calf muscle.
However, there is no evidence to support that Knee Savers can increase the risk of injury.
I’ve spoken to many doctors, trainers, and physical therapists about this and I haven’t come across anyone yet who thinks that they could negatively impact a catcher’s knee health. If you find someone who does please send them my way, I’d love to have a chat with them.
WHY DON’T MLB PLAYERS WEAR KNEE SAVERS?
A lot of people are under the impression that Major League catchers don’t wear Knee Savers…a lot of people are wrong! I recently did some intensive research for an article titled Catching Equipment that the Pros Wear and found out that 47% of starting catchers in the MLB do wear knee savers.
Now, I watch a lot of baseball and I’ve known for years that Knee Savers are more mainstream than a lot of people think, but even I didn’t realize that it was almost 50/50. In my opinion, that says a lot…almost half of Major League Baseball teams’ starting catchers are wearing them. I’m quite certain that the coaches, managers, and front office have done their research as to whether they’re helping or hurting their catchers. I’m also quite certain that there is a 0% change that MLB teams would let their catchers wear them if they thought that there was a chance that they were doing more harm than good.
If that stat surprises you be sure to check out the article I mentioned above…there will be some other shocking stats in there too: Catching Equipment that the Pros Wear
DOES COACH XAN LET HIS PLAYERS WEAR KNEE SAVERS?
I believe that each player should be treated individually so I don’t take the cookie-cutter approach to coaching. No two players are exactly alike and they shouldn’t be coached exactly alike.
With that said, some of my catchers wear Knee Savers and some don’t. I personally think that it should be a personal choice for catchers who are 100% healthy. That means catchers who don’t currently have any knee issues, catchers who don’t have a history of knee injuries, and catchers who aren’t at “high risk” of having a knee injury have the freedom to choose if they’d like to wear Knee Savers or not.
For the guys that are completely healthy I let them choose…
The players who have had a history of knee complications don’t get the luxury of making that decision themselves…I make it for them!
Anyone who has a history of knee injuries should be wearing Knee Savers. There is no reason not to and it’s a preventative measure that responsible coaches should help make their players make.
Do Knee Savers Make You Lazy?
November 26, 2018
I hear this question all the time and hear some exaggerated answers being thrown out. The truth is, if your catcher is lazy… it’s because he’s lazy. Having knee savers attached to your calves isn’t going make you a lazy catcher, just like not having knee savers won’t make you a hard worker.
The other reason knee savers don’t make you lazy, the secondary stance. A secondary stance is the catching stance we take with runners on or with two strikes on a hitter. Whether you have knee savers on or not won’t make a difference in this stance. Our secondary stance will have our thighs parallel to the ground, in a squat position with our upper body leaning forward ready to receive a pitch, block a ball in the dirt, or quickly go through our footwork to throw a runner out. This stance takes the knee savers out of the equation, catchers should not be in a primary stance with runners on or with two strikes on a hitter.
When there are less than two strikes and no one on base we can be in a primary stance; because there are no runners on and less than two strikes there is no consequence for a pass ball. Therefore we can get into a more comfortable position in our primary stance. If knee savers help a catcher feel more comfortable in a primary stance than let them use them.
If you are dealing with a catcher being lazy than you need to address his mental toughness and character. Don’t blame the knee savers and neglect character issues.
Knee savers can help a catcher get more comfortable in their primary stance and help them endure a long game and a long season. Laziness behind the dish is an attitude and character issue, start there and you’ll see the knee savers make no difference in laziness.