Good Coaches Take Nothing for Granted – Valuable Base Running Tips
- Updated: January 19, 2012
“Baseball is a game of inches,” is an often-used phrase and nowhere is that more evident than with base running. Saving an inch or two when running the bases makes all the difference whether players are out or safe and makes a difference in the win/loss column. A couple inches here and there mean a couple of extra wins a year, which may mean a championship.
Unfortunately, many coaches do not teach the little things that save those inches. ”It could be argued that base running is the most taken for granted aspect of baseball, but that is a story for another day. Good baseball coaches do not neglect the importance of those little things that save those valuable inches. Following are some tips that coaches should not allow players to neglect when practicing base running. Many of these may seem basic and just common sense but they take continual practice and reinforcement to perfect.
Good base runners:
* Know the game situation before running
* Know where the ball is at all times and when they do not, check with the base coach immediately
* Have a knowledge of the defensive alignment before the pitched ball
* Look down at the base when they are close to it – this may seem obvious but many players take their concentration away from which part of the bag they actually are placing their foot.
* Hit the front part of the bag when running through it and the inside corner of the bag when rounding the base
* Touch the correct part of the base with the foot that is there without ever breaking stride
* Run hard all the way through 1st base and hard when rounding bases until the defense has them stopped
* Know exactly when to round the base and how to round it correctly
* Realize the play is not over once arriving at a base; staying alert until the ball is back to the pitcher’s mound
* Take the correct distance lead-off from the base – generally, a three and a half step lead from 1st base at the back part of the base and a walking lead from second and third, a couple of steps to the outside of the baselines
* Are in the maximum balanced position when in a lead off position, ready to go either way
* Take a secondary lead which has their right foot landing as the ball reaches the hitting zone, prepared to go either direction, based on if the ball is put in play or not
* Always having an anticipation of pitched balls being thrown in the dirt
As noticed, there are many little things that go into good base running and things that must be practiced often. Another highly under practiced part of base running is sliding. Knowing when to slide, how to slide, and different methods of sliding are very important things to make the difference between winning and losing.