Friday Base Running Secrets – Essential Tag Up Base Running Drill
One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the play at the plate. Following is a fun and essential drill that teaches runners how to tag up and helps them make good base running decisions. Additionally, this base running drill uses and helps outfielders, cut off people and catchers gain experience at this critical play.
Set a player in the outfield, at third base, catcher, and another at the cut-off position between outfielder and home plate. The remaining players are base runners (with helmets on) at third base. Coaches either hit or throw catchable fly balls to various depths in the outfield, where the runner at third tags up and makes the decision whether to try to score. Outfielders throw home (through the cutoff player). When the runner attempts to score there will be plays at the plate.
Coaching Points are many on this play:
1. How outfielder lines ball up, sets feet to throw and throws through cut-off, not at him
2. How cut-off player lines up and cuts ball off when instructed to
3. Third base play – covering base and participating if run down ensues
4. Catcher’s play – making call to line up cut-off player, calling to have ball cut or not, and how to receive ball and apply tag
5. Base run decisions – how to tag up, when to run or bluff, and where to slide when necessary
Of course, there is no bowling over of catcher or running into catcher on this play – sliding only. As mentioned, because of the excitement of this play, players enjoy this practice drill, especially the runners (trying to score) and the outfielders (getting opportunity to throw player out at plate).