Friday Base Running Tips
When Baseball Language is not Good for Coaching Base Running
Often, the baseball language that coaches use to coach base running does not mean exactly what they say. For example, often used baseball language like, half way, freeze, run through the bag, tag up, and back, do not necessarily tell the whole story for good base running. Many ball players take the terms literally, leading to incorrect base running habits. It is important that coaches explain their baseball language and coach the finer details of base running, so pressure stays on the defense and for making games winnable.
Following are common base running mistakes that baseball language promotes and that many youth coaches do not notice causes incorrect base running habits.
Baseball Language and Coaching Base Running often Diverge
- Yes, runners can run through first base and they should on infield ground balls, but after running full speed through the base, they should stop as quickly as possible on the line, as they turn to look for the ball. Many players run too far after the base, or peel out towards the first base dugout, losing opportunities to possibly advance to second base.
- Rounding first base the same for every ball hit to the outfield – runners can round first base differently based on which field the ball goes. For example, runners can go much further towards second base on balls hit to left field than balls hit to right field.
- Similarly, going half way on fly balls to the outfield is a general term. Players can go all the way to second base on some deeply hit fly balls but must remain relatively close to first base on balls to shallow right field.
- Also similarly, on line drives players would freeze, but also may have to retreat for balls hit close to the base they are on.
- When leading off second base, players are to listen for the third base coaches instructions as far as defensive players sneaking in behind them for a pick-off play. However, when they yell back, it does not necessarily mean they have to retreat all the way back to the base. When players hear, ‘back,” they should move back some but only all the way back to the base when they see the pitcher turn to throw to second. Otherwise, they are missing a good jump from second on the pitched ball.
- “Tag-up” is often the right coaching call but coaches must inform players that does not mean they have to run on the caught ball; they can tag up and hold, bluff or run depending on their or the coaches judgment.
As you can see, the language of baseball may have the right intent, but may not always tell the whole story, as to how to run the bases most effectively.