Base Running Tips and Drills
Here's an outstanding base running drill that my assistant coach brought to
The focus of this drill is to make our runners very aggressive and not be
afraid to get dirty! It also gets players practice in sliding and diving
properly, which will hopefully keep us from injuries and out of court. It also
tends to develop players who want to work hard and get dirty.
Runners start at home plate. Take a swing, round first properly taking a wide,
aggressive, turn and dive back into the first base bag. Runner gets up
quickly, takes an aggressive lead, and takes off to steal 2nd sliding into the
bag. Next, the runner gets up, takes an aggressive secondary lead and dives
back into the bag. He then steals third repeating the slide, getting up and
taking an aggressive lead off third.
Be sure that the third base lead is in foul ground, and that the dive back
into the bag is coming back on the foul line in line of the catcher's throw.
Finally, the runner is to get up and sprint home (no slide at plate). The next
runner takes off from home when the previous runner completes his dive into
first and touches the bag.
Submitted by: Barry Traynor
I've been ending practices with this drill for many years. It works with
either baseball or softball.
The drill allows for every baserunning situation to be executed, allows the
coach to check running mechanics and proper turns, and helps build stamina
with short bursts. It's much more helpful than having the players continually
circle the bases. You will find that the runner scoring from second will often
chase the runner tagging from third home, making for a good game-type
Split the team in half and form two lines at home plate, one staggered ahead
and inside the other. The coach stands at the pitcher's circle with two bats.
When he (she) hits the bats together, the lead runners in both lines take off.
One runs straight through first base as if she is beating out a groundball,
the other makes a turn and continues into second.
You now have runners at first and second and two lines of runners still at
home. At the next crack of the bat, the drill continues in the same manner but
the runner on second now rounds third and scores while the runner on first
takes third. Now every base should be occupied.
It continues again, with the runner on third tagging up and scoring. Two
runners will now score each time the bats are hit together. They will then
return to the end of the opposite line and the bases will always remain
The coach can gauge when the team has had enough and end the drill when the
last player on line crosses home.
Submitted by: Hank Gola
Batting Practice Baserunning
One of my favorite ways to teach and develop great base runners is to
incorporate base running into batting practice.
Players should take their actions seriously. They should wear helmets. They
must go back to the bag after each pitch to simulate getting the sign and
taking a new lead. If they need to, they can skip a couple of "BP" throws to
catch their breath and get ready for their next move.
The two players running the bases should make sure to "stagger" themselves so
that they will not run up on the next runner. This is a great drill to teach
base running savvy, awareness, and alertness. It is also a great way to
condition. Make sure that each player stretches and warms up before doing this
Another thing you might consider is those young players that need additional
base running work may be ran extra during batting practice if they need it.
Teach them to be aggressive.
Another great point is to teach them to anticipate the "pitch in the dirt." If
they get a "dirt ball read," they should break. They should develop confidence
in their own decision-making ability and learn to "trust their eyes."
This can be done very easily by dividing your players into groups of four to
take batting practice. One player will hit. The next hitter will warm-up on
The 3rd and 4th players will run "circuits" on the bases. These circuits are
designated circuits that are listed and attached to the first baseman
protection screen. Players will always run after they hit. We normally hit
three times with at least 10 swings each.
The circuits are:
Circuit 1 - At first base, fake steal and read the contact to get to second
base. Once at second base, get a two-out lead and score on a base hit.
Circuit 2 - At first base, hit & run. Stop at second base. Then take a regular
lead and read contact to get to third base. At third base, call for a squeeze
by the batter.
Circuit 3 - At first base take a straight steal second base. At second base,
fake steal and read contact. At third base, tag and score on a fly ball
Submitted by: Nick Dixon
Between Home And First
I have used this drill for many years to get my players safe on first base,
and find it to be a great tool to teach:
Running through the base.
Rounding a base.
Taging the base with the left foot on the left corner of the bag, and
Watching and listening to the base coach.
Players line up at home plate. One at a time swing a bat and drop it saftly as
if a hit. They then become a runner and runner to first base watching the
If signaled to second they round the turn and go to second. The coach may stop
them and have them slide back into first, send them to slide into second, or
have them overrun. The coach should alternate his calls to keep the players
guessing and watching.
Submitted by: Bob Watson
Divide the players equally among the four bases. One at a time from each base
will be running, with the others waiting their turn. At 'go' from the coach,
the four take off. Proper technique is a must and the goal would be to do a
certain amount right in a row before going on to something else.
Player at the plate: Simulates a swing. Takes off as if hitting a double and
possibly a triple. Makes a good turn at first. Picks up the 3rd base coach
half way to 2nd. Rounds 2nd hard, 'picks up the ball' and returns to 2nd
quickly. Player at first: From a lead, goes from 1st to 3rd.
Picks up the 3rd base coach half way to 3rd. Makes a hard turn at 3rd then
returns quickly. Player at 2nd: From a lead, goes from 2nd to home. Picks up
the 3rd base coach and makes a good turn. Runs hard through the plate. Player
at 3rd: From a lead, goes back to the bag to tag.
Takes off for home, rounds it, then takes off for 1st as if beating out a
single. Looks inside towards the 1st base dugout as he crosses the bag for
Submitted by: Dan Pastor
A big part of our baserunning program is "reading ball in the dirt."
This drill helps the players learn how to read the trajectory of a pitched
ball that will bounce in the dirt.
Players are set up at all three bases. They are independent of each other
because different bases have different rules for a ball in the dirt. A coach
pitches from the rubber and mixes in strikes and balls in the dirt to the
catcher. Any time the ball is about to bounce the whole team must yell "DIRT."
This helps you make sure everyone is paying attention. Baserunners on first
should automatically go when they know the ball is going to bounce. If they
leave after the ball has bounced, they left too late.
Runners on second need to react to the ball in the dirt and then decide if
they would be safe. We tell them to read and decide. If the ball kicks away
from the catcher they should've gone. If the catcher blocks the ball in front
of him the base runners should stay. The runner on third base is similar to
the one on second. He takes his lead, gets a good crow hop as the ball nears
the plate and reacts to the ball in the dirt. Again, he reads and decides.
Coaches should emphasize that each base is independent of each other. Just
'cause the runner from first goes to second doesn't mean the runner on second
has to go. Coaches should also emphasize good secondary lead technique. It
also helps if you have at least 2 catchers. You don't want one catcher getting
tired and picking up bad or lazy habits.
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