Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaching – Counting to Four
Communication on the baseball diamond is crucial for not only getting outs, but also for keeping players healthy. The key to baseball communication is the ability to have quick words spoken and words that all players know the meaning of. These “yelled” words must be loud, and clear, so players know exactly what other players’ intentions are at a moment’s notice. For example, the usual spoken communication between defensive players on fly balls is, “I got it,” and “take it,” said by the player who is calling for ball and the player who allows them to take it.
Once again, spoken loudly and clearly, and more than once, is what baseball coaches “drill” into players, so outs are the result and injuries avoided. As mentioned, the communication words must be agreed upon beforehand. When different words are spoken than those practiced, confusion reigns.
Another common baseball communication is informing defensive players which base to throw the ball to. Once again, this information must be quick and clear to all. With that in mind, numbers are assigned to the bases. Instead of yelling first, second, third home, the bases are one (first base), two (second base), three (third base), four (home plate). These may seem obvious to experienced baseball people but coaches must practice this base calling technique with all players. Using the wrong term may cause the hesitation in players that leads to losing outs.
Base Calling Drill – Coaches set a player at each base and start a ball with one player, before yelling out a number, one through four, at which time the player with the ball throws to that base. Upon catching the ball, coaches yell out the next number, etc…