Sunday, April 29, 2012

Holding Runners on Base

Good base runners steal on the pitcher, not the catcher - but some players moving up from Little League (11-12yo) think that they are stealing on the catcher.

This base running approach has to do with the fact the in the younger leagues, with 60ft bases, you don't get to lead off and you can only steal once the pitch reaches the batter. In this situation, the pitchers don't have to hold the runner on base and the runner is stealing on the catcher - often waiting for the passed ball or wild pitch.

The Little League pitcher has a lot of time to throw to the plate and often will have a slow windup and delivery. I noticed the slow motion delivery by a few of the Japanese pitchers during the Little League World Series. The pitchers took their time and completely ignored the base runners, since they only needed to focus on throwing strikes.

Often, the inexperienced runners - with small leads - are watching the catcher, and not the pitcher.

If your league allows leadoffs and steals, then remember to check the runner before pitching the ball - this might keep the base runner honest.

Pick-off moves take practice

Work on your pick-off move in front of a mirror. Make sure that you become set and hold that position without rotating your shoulders. I know kids who use balled-up socks to practice pickoff throws in the hallway at home.

In practice, work with the first baseman on locating pick-off throws to make it easy to tag a runner out.

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