When you’re a base runner and especially a base coach, you should be aware of the throw times in seconds of each outfielder, to each base. Then, when matched against a player’s time in seconds to cover ninety (90) feet, there’s a pretty good indication of the go-n-no go to beat any thrown ball from any outfielder to any base.
Basically, a record is made of every player’s time in seconds to cover ninety (90) feet. Then, the players that normally cover the outfield take a position at a shallow location, then a midfield location, and finally a deep location. At each location the outfielder gives his best throws to each bag, and that time in seconds is recorded to reach each bag.
So let’s say that player #1 is a base runner that can cover ninety (90) feet in four (4) seconds. Let’s assume that a ball is in play, either by a hit or throwing error, and reaches deep in left. The time that seems to average out on your club for a fielder in deep left field to reach second base is four (4) seconds. Now if the base runner on first base stays on the bag, there’s no way that he’s going to beat the throw from the left fielder, so he’s stays put. On the other hand, if that same base runner takes a ten (10) foot lead – or even greater, then he’ll have less than 90 feet to cover, hence a quicker time to make it to second base in less than four (4) seconds.
In pro ball, take notice of just about every base coach, especially the first base coach. Take note of the stopwatch curled up in his hand. That stopwatch is there for many reasons, and one of those reasons is for the example that I outlined here.
A club I was with put me on as a first base coach a few times. Admittedly I wasn’t very good at it- but nevertheless, this principle of time-n-distance relationships I did understand and used it. In fact, I found some outfielders a sleep at the switch and took advantage of it every time.