Should a third basemen ever try to hold a runner on 3rd base?

My coach told me to hold a runner on third base last game. We were down 8 - 2 in the 4th inning with a runner on 1st and 3rd with 1 out.

My highschool coach however says at higher levels you never pick off at 3rd base.


If you suspect a play to be on with 1st and 3rd or a contact play with a runner at third, holding that runner close can give an infielder fractions of a second that can result in saving a run or forcing the runner to decide against attempting to score. Usually this can be accomplished by positioning the third baseman even with the bag and two steps off the line.

This has nothing to do with the play-making situation - but, you mentioned two (2) coaches in your question.

One of the fastest ways to collect splinters (sitting on the bench) for the entire season, and beyond, is to question a coach by stating the contrary, by another coach.

So, simply ask your questions, just be careful how and who you ask. Why?

Coaching can be a mix of good intentions, doing the best one can, giving up time to see to it that you play ball, and so on. Also in the mix are personalities and opinions generated by others who have no idea of the pressures and responsibilities that coaches get blindsided with.

In my career, I’ve made some really stupid decisions. I did the best I could with what I had and went on from there. Sometimes a coach will look at a situation and govern his/her directions based on what and who is available. In the Majors it looks so simple and flawless sometimes - and therein is the impossible benchmark that amateur coaches find themselves being measured against.

Give every coach that you’re playing for a bit of space to do their thing. Don’t go comparing one coach to another - it’s just not fair. Learn by reasoning yourself just how and why a play can and can not work. Ask the question that serves you best without injecting people, comparing one to the other.

I should have qualified that introduction to my posting by saying “The following remarks of mine are not criticizing your question about playmaking…”

It was pointed out to me that perhaps you might be offended by my criticizing you asking why should you, or not, hold a runner on third. This under no circumstances is the case. My apologies if you interpreted my response in a negative way.

Coach B.