Catching is a demanding position. At this point in the season with 50 games in the books catchers are sore, bruised and tired.
I noticed the other day that my son was starting to feel the effects of catching so many innings. I noticed that he was taking pitches off.
When a runner is on base. The catcher needs to be in position 2, the ready position. The catcher's butt is slightly up, weight on balls of feet and the throwing hand is behind the mitt for a quick transfer.
The other day, it was hot and I could tell my son was tired. When a runner would get on base, he would assume the proper position as seen above. But I noticed that when a runner did not run early in the count my son would assume the kid was not running at all and he would revert to the more comfortable position 1, the relaxed position (below).
As soon as he did this, the runners would take off and steal the base. A sign of a well coached team.
I talked to my son about this after the game. I asked him if he was tired. He said that he was. I said regardless, you cannot take any pitches off when there were runners on. Your team is counting on you. He said that he did not realize he was doing that.
"Well" I said, "this is a good learning experience. Take this knowledge an improve as a catcher and use this knowledge to become a better base runner too. Watch the catcher. Take advantage of the tired or lazy ones. You will find that they give you lots of information about the pitch location and speed and if they are poised to throw quickly or not.
The Main Point
Catchers cannot take any pitches off.