Something I see lots of variation with is defensive positioning while holding runners on. Some coaches either teach or fail to correct middle infielders holding a runner on second just like a first baseman holds runners at first base.

(I’d like to see the middle infielder one step closer to the bag than the lead they are willing to give the runner. If you’re the short stop, don’t slap the glove or kick dirt. Be as silent as possible and try to stay just out of visual range of the runner. Make him look for you, don’t let him know where you are! Giving a runner audible cues of your position allows him to stay focused on the pitcher, especially if he’s trying to take a big lead.)

I see this in nearly every game where the second baseman has his right foot on the base holding his glove toward the pitcher until the pitcher’s move to the plate when they frantically try to get back into position. It’s almost possible to do on a small diamond, but not so much on a large diamond.

(Again, position yourself one step closer to the bag than the maximum lead you are willing to allow. You will still beat the runner to the bag if the pitcher decides to attempt a pick-off, and you will be 3-4 steps closer to the defensive positioning you wish to take for the pitch.)

Another situation I see a lot is runners on first and second or with two outs where the first baseman is holding the runner just like the situation with only a runner on first with less than two outs.

(The runner on first is not going anywhere unless the runner at second does. There is no need to be in contact with first base. Position yourself just behind the runner and just out of his visual range. Don’t allow him to get too much of a lead. Your position will determine his lead.)

I also see the pitchers going wind-up with a runner on 3rd and the runner taking that as a free pass to run up and down the line clapping his hands and jumping around like a jack-a**. I don’t care how good your concentration is, that’s a distraction.

(I see pitchers go wind-up for one pitch, then as a reaction to the silliness of the runner at third they change to stretch for the rest of the at bat. Don’t let them know they have effected you–even for one pitch! Start from the stretch. You are in charge. Third basemen should also never hold a runner like a first baseman. Stay squared-up to home plate and set the runner’s lead by your proximity to the bag. Believe me, the runner will not take any liberties if you are only 6-8 feet off the bag.)

There are other situations, but I think you see my basic point. Why freely give an advantage to a runner or a hitter when it’s not necessary? With a little situational awareness, all of this craziness can be avoided.


Interesting thoughts Coach P.

From an offensive standpoint, I always tell my runners at first to keep stretching their lead until they draw a throw. This helps them get their maximum lead. Some pitchers will allow you more than others, so take what they give.

Runners on second, I tell them to get as much as they can while able to get back safely. The middle infielders can move around as much as they want, but it doesn’t effect the time it takes the pitcher to get the ball there. Don’t let middle infielder movement shorten your lead. If you have the right amount, you should be able to get your lead and stay there. If they aren’t holding you on, you can take a lead equal to the distance of the closest defender.

Runners on third, be as much of a pain the a** as possible if the pitcher goes from the wind-up.

Lead runners…on a mishandled, passed ball, or wild pitch, the trailing runners take their cues from YOU so don’t be indecisive. GO or DON’T GO but don’t change your mind! Read and commit. If you make the wrong choice, it’s OK. I can teach you to make better decisions easier than teaching you to make decisions.

My kid would have loved you…stretch…stretch…sttttttrrrrrreeeettttcccchhhhh…pop…go sit…He always worked hard with his 1b on signals when the guy hung himself out…drop your eyes???zap…cross your legs…HA!, he’d almost act like he wasn’t paying attention, quick look, set, deliver or pick…always on the 1st runner aboard, a quick throw over to get distance and location…then he’d “go to sleep” :lol: Lots of pitches saved by picking nit-wits who weren’t sharp.

If the runner is paying attention he won’t get picked off. It’s always a napping runner who gets picked. A far more probable outcome is a botched p/o throw going wild and the runner gets second for free.