Base Running 101
Here are a few basic tips to make you a better baserunner leading to increased speed around the bases and ability to put pressure on the defense.
On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about our base running. We’re going to be talking about as soon as we step into the home plate, batter’s box, what kind of intentions we have, what type of mentality we have, thinking in twos, what kind of aggressiveness we want to have out of the box. We’ll also talk about what type of swing we want to have and how we have to have a good finish to get the best optimal speed going towards first base. We’ll talk about putting in a hard 90. But we’ll also talk about when that ball is hitting the gap, what kind of route, and what kind of round we want to have going into first base. We’ll also talk about touching the bag and what specific part of the bag we want to touch and what kind of variables we’re looking for. Whether it’s the first baseman’s feet, a bad throw, and how to advance. But first, let’s talk about our approach as soon as we step into the box. As coaches, we need to teach our young baseball players that base running starts as soon as we get into the batter spots.
One of the misconceptions that I see a lot from young baseball players is when they do take a swing, they get to contact and they stop their finish because they’re so worried about getting to first base. One thing we as coaches must do is teach them to work on developing their overall athleticism with a good, hard, healthy hack towards that ball and then regaining that balance to put in a hard 90. Sometimes when we take our swing, that back foot’s going to catch us. Sometimes when we take that swing, that left foot is going to get us going. But we as coaches need to reinforce that athleticism is something that is gained and something that is learned. So you must work on that over and over.
Have your players practice a hard, healthy hack. Have them work on trying to find which foot best optimizes their balance, whether it’s from the right side or the left side. That way they can get a good feel for their hard swing.
Now, as you can see, it doesn’t matter from left or the right side. All players should work on their ability to regain balance and put in a hard 90. We should always run hard down the first base line. A lot of guys will hit a ground ball easy to second base, or a helm ground ball easy to short, and they’ll pull up and not put in that hard 90. Now, as soon as we regain control and as soon as we go, we need to make sure that we’re hitting that ball. We’re looking and we’re now starting our path towards a baseball. Within the first six steps we have to make our decision so within the first six steps we make our decision on whether or not we’re taking a hard round. Or finishing all the way through.
As soon as we put the ball in play, primarily in the infield. Now we got to continue to put in a hard 90, put some pressure on that defense. Make sure that we touch the front part of the bag, and as soon as we pass the bag, we’re breaking ourselves down looking for that overthrow. When you break down, make sure that you have your audio senses tuned up. Listen for that coach, or if you see the ball, make your own decision. Advance to the next bag. The best way to stay on the field is to put in a hard 90. It’s all about effort and it’s all about attitude. Whenever the ball is put into play in the infield, we need to make sure that we’re still putting in that hard 90. We need to assess the situation. As soon as we find out what’s going on, we read the first baseman’s feet and put a head first slide in, avoiding the tag and reaching base safely. As soon as we put the ball into the outfield, we’re thinking in twos, and we’re going to take a hard round to put pressure on the defense. Within those first six steps, that’s when we should make our decision whether or not we’re going to make that turn. As soon as we round the bag, we touch the inside part of the bag and we’re looking to put pressure on that defense. As soon as we’ve taken our round, make sure that we keep our chest to the baseball and retreat back to the bag. If we hit the ball to left field, when we take a sharper angle to the inside part of the bag, keeping our chest to the ball, then we’ll retreat back to the bag, keeping our eyes always on the baseball. When we hit the ball to center field, we’re taking more of an angle towards the center fielder, shuffling our feet, stopping our feet and retreating back to the bag. When hitting the ball to the right fielder, it doesn’t have to be that sharp of an angle. Turn the body and keep that chest to the baseball. If someone takes a round too hard, put in a good pop up slide to stop the momentum and retreat back to the bag with the chest facing the ball.
You can learn more about great base running at USA Baseball and their mobile coaching.
If you live on the north end of Denver, take your baseball skills to the next level at the old Hit Dingers Indoor Hitting Facility now Gameday in Arvada.
For anyone in the south Denver metro area, take your baseball skills to the next level at the 30,000 sq. ft. “Bubble” in Parker.