Wednesdays Web Gems Tips – Art of Tagging out Runners in Baseball
Possibly the defensive baseball play that is screwed up the most is tagging out runners. Even though this seems like a simple thing, applying a baseball tag is misplayed repeatedly, even at the major league level. The problem develops when defensive players go out and/or up for tagging out runners, only to have players sneak into the bag, usually by going under the tag. This move to go after the runner is common nature because players are anxious to get the out, but they fail to realize it makes the out less likely when doing it that way. Of course, it is important that defensive players are observant and intentional, when applying the tag, as the base is bigger than the glove so runners can sneak around the tag.
Coaching Tip for Tagging out Runners
Coaches must continually let players know that the runner has no way of reaching the base safely, unless they touch the bag before tagged, with the key word being “touch.” With the base on the ground, there is no reason for the defensive player to go out and up towards the runner when the runner must get to the bag, which is on the ground, as mentioned. The only time they would have to go up is if the runner is attempting to jump over the tag, but even then the runner has to come down to touch the base.
This is another baseball play that is hard to get enough practice at because it happens only a few times each game, so coaches should have players practice tagging out runners during team sliding practice.
Keys to Tagging out Runners
Players often get too relaxed after catching balls and believe the runner will automatically slide into their glove. That is not often the case, and fielders must concentrate on the area of the runner’s body going for the base, so they are sure to touch that portion of the body, be it hand or foot.
Additionally, when tagging out runners that are still running, players must learn to have a little “give” in their hand and body to avoid the ball coming out after contact and to avoid injury.