Friday Base Running Tips

How to Steal a Base (Second Base)

Coaching players how to steal a base may be one of the most difficult things to do. Some players have good base stealing instincts and others do not. The best-case scenario is when the players with the instincts have good speed, but that is not always the case. At the low levels of ball, fast players can just out run the ball and appear to be good at stealing a base, but that changes as field dimensions grow.

Knowledge to Steal a Base

Base stealing begins with knowledge of the pitcher’s move. Any little clue as an open front shoulder, the same rhythm every pitch or a body-lean before lifting a foot can give the base runner a big advantage. Without any advanced tip, base runners must be in optimum balanced and ready position with their leadoff, ready to either break towards second base, or back to first, depending on the move of the pitcher.

Intense concentration is necessary to “read” which of the pitcher’s feet moves first. When the right foot moves first, the pitcher is coming over to first base. When the left foot moves first, the pitcher is going to home plate.

Hard part to steal a base

The best base stealers believe the right-handed pitchers left foot will move first and break immediately when that happens. When the right foot moves first for the pickoff, they rely on their quickness to get back to first. That is the instinct part of base stealing that is most difficult to obtain. When base stealers are too fearful of getting back to first on the pickoff attempt, they lose the edge with being able to get the jump needed to steal second base.

Few other steal a base tips for success

* A three and a half step lead is best – a larger lead is too risky and shorter one is inadequate

* Knowledge of the pitcher’s move to first, the catcher’s arm strength, pitch selection, and game situations all go into good base stealing decisions

* Stealing second base with a left-handed pitcher requires even better concentration and knowledge of the pitcher’s move and tendencies.

* An explosive and quick crossover step is crucial to steal a base

* Learning to slide fast and late is also crucial for good base stealers

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