Friday Base Running Tips
Base Running Habits Coaches should not Allow
It is very easy for baseball players to get into bad and lazy base running habits, for a few reasons. First, even though baseball does not require non-stop action, the day in and day out nature of the schedule makes it a grueling physical game. Even at the youth level, with travel tournaments common, where teams may play three games in a day and five or six games in a weekend, physical fatigue sets in.
Second, it is easy to let assumptions take over. For instance, approximately 95% of pop ups end up outs, so it is easy to begin to jog after popped up balls. Third, players, who watch some major league players run the bases, can easily mimic those that do not run hard on every batted ball. All of these may lead to lazy base runners, and equally lazy baseball coaches.
Good coaches insist that players run hard on every batted ball and do not allow them to fall into bad base running habits. It is very refreshing to see a baseball coach, at any level, give “lazy” base runners a seat on the bench after “dogging” it on the base paths. Following are some obvious and not so obvious base running traps to avoid.
10 Base Running Plays to avoid easing up on
- As mentioned, one of the most common bad habits is jogging after hitting a pop up or easy fly ball.
- Similarly, other base runners assuming pop ups and fly balls will be caught, when two outs.
- Another similar base running trap, the batter assuming there will be a force out at second base on ground ball with two outs.
- Only take a good lead off, when they are planning to steal a base or simply taking an inadequate lead off.
- Take lazy secondary leads at all bases – this one is very common.
- Fail to go the correct distance on fly balls to the outfield, when on first or second base, with less than two out. It is important to note that distance, known as “going half way,” varies on every fly ball.
- Tag up too late on obvious tag-up fly balls.
- The lead runner fails to run all out, when they will obviously score, but with two outs, and the trailing runner may be thrown out. Obviously, this one cost teams a run.
- Give up easily in run down situation. Run down plays are often “messed up” defensively, so base runners should never just give themselves up without making the defense work fully for the out.
- Ease up, when approaching a base and the fielder acts like there is no play; a common “fake out play” that base runners often fall for, only to have the fielder catch the ball at the last second and tag the runner out.
Coaches, who begin to overlook the little things, as runners easing up on batted balls, soon will have a lazy team that misses opportunities to score and win.