Friday Base Running Tips – Teaching the Secondary Lead
It is important that baseball coaches know a number of drills that not only teach the game, but drills that involve as many players as possible. Otherwise, boredom and screwing around is the result, when kids have too much down time. The following fits the bill for both objectives of teaching base running and keeping a number of players involved. This base running drill also fills the bill of adding some competition to a team’s practice.
Maybe the most important base running skill is the secondary lead, which is the additional steps runners take once pitchers begin their home delivery. This secondary lead is the edge runners need to break up double plays, go first to third, as well as the difference between being out or safe on close plays.
Secondary Base Running Drill
Coaches set up a few extra bases beyond first base, so a few players lead off together. With a pitcher on the mound, players take their normal lead off. Once the pitcher delivers a ball (or an imaginary one to home), runners take two hop steps towards second base. Upon the ball reaching the hitting zone, a coach who is standing in the batter’s box, claps his hands or fakes clapping his hands. Runners take off for second base, as with a batted ground ball with the clap but with the fake clap, they head back to first base, as with a swing and a miss. The drill helps players to practice the timing of their secondary hops, the decision making of go or stay, having their weight landing on the right foot and with the timing of taking off towards second on the batted ball.
After players have the rhythm of the drill, the competition begins. As players take off for second after the clap, the first player to get to a designated point before second base is the winner. However, players, who are picked off because they ran on the fake claps, are eliminated from that rounds competition. An elimination tourney is fun to find the team winner for that day.
Note – the winner is determined short of second base so that it is not the fastest runners, who win, but the winner is the one who gets the best jump after the clap of the hands.