Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaches
Baseball Coaching That is Aggressive but Smart
Of course, the simple answer to whether putting on the steal sign was good or bad is when the runner ended up safe; then, it was a good move. However, it is not always that cut and dried.
Many baseball coaches run their team out of scoring chances, whereas others do not take advantage of running opportunities. Much of the information necessary to make good baseball coaching stealing decisions is gathered during pre-game infield practice, when coaches observe the catcher’s throwing arm. Learning about the pitchers delivery from the stretch position may be possible at this time, too. After that, coaches base their base stealing opportunities on each player’s stealing skill and on the game situation.
Often, at the lower levels of baseball, the decisions are easy as fast players or weak throwing catchers make stealing simple. However, leagues where there are no leadoffs and when the base paths increase in length, make stealing more difficult, as are the decisions to steal at the advanced levels of baseball.
When pitchers have quick deliveries home and catchers have good arms, making educated decisions on when to steal a base becomes more of a necessity for baseball coaches. Once again, when the chances base stealers will be safe are very good, other game-situation considerations are not that crucial. For other times, game situation considerations come into play more. Following are some of the things that help coaches make educated decisions when to put the steal sign on.
Baseball Coaching – Good Stealing Times
The following game situations make it worth trying to steal, realizing that even if the runner is out, it was still worth the risk.
- Any time in game – when facing a tough pitcher and multiple hits are less likely
- With two outs and two strikes on a good hitter, it may be worth a try because that hitter will lead off next inning if runner is out
- Any time it is likely an off speed pitch will be pitched – tougher for catchers to throw runners out on off speed pitches
- With two outs when a good hitter is at the plate, but one without a lot of power and a single is most likely
- With two outs there is always less of a chance of a big inning developing so may be able to get an extra run with the steal
Baseball Coaching– Don’t Steal Decisions
The following decisions dictate a steal attempt is not worth the chance of trying the steal attempt
- Best hitter is at the plate, especially with two outs
- Losing by more than two runs later in the game, unless team is giving base to you
- Less than two outs because a chance of a big inning developing is better early in inning
- Two and zero counts are not usually the best count to run, as distracting the hitter then is not generally a good thing
- Some hitters get distracted when hitters steal, so even though it may be a good time to steal, it may not be worth distracting the hitter.
Other Baseball Coaching Stealing Considerations
Coaches must always take the score of games into consideration. Being more conservative when losing and more aggressive when winning is a good philosophy, as long as not running up the score.
Finally, as a general rule of thumb, stealing of third base is not necessary with two outs, but is beneficial with less than two outs. Attempting to steal third base with a left-handed batter up is much more difficult, too, so not usually advised.