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1b: Base Running - First Base: the thought going through every runner on first is how to get to third base as soon as possible. This means being ready to run at every opportunity.

Beginner: Whether lead offs are allowed or not, have the runner begin from the corner of the bag furthest from home and closest to second. This places the runner furthest from the pitcher, catcher, and first baseman and creates a better angle for rounding second base. In leagues where no lead offs are allowed, the runner places their left foot on the corner of the bag, toes in the dirt, and heel on the base, body turned towards the plate. This provides a "runners block" to push off. The runner should run towards second base, in line with the back side of the bag, that is, the corner of the base closest to them and furthest from the catcher. In leagues without lead offs, where the runner can not leave until the ball reaches the plate, the runner should take 3 hard steps off the base with every pitch, whether the ball is hit or not. With a right step - left step - right step combination, the runner is in perfect position to see the play, continue on to second base, or return safely to first base. This way the runner is anticipating the ball being hit, or a passed ball, and is already on the move, and can simply react to the ball.

When rounding second base, the runner shold cut across the front corner of the base, that is, the corner to the inside of the diamond, then run towards the back half of third base. The path will be somewhat of a banana shape, not a sharp turn at second, to allow the runner to maintain their speed.
Intermediate: As soon as leading off is allowed, the complexity at first base changes drastically. The routine at first base should be as follows: begin on the base and look to the coach for any signals, take an aggressive lead, with the pitcher's motion, take three hard step then read the play. One of the keys to good base running is to be aggressive. This begins at first base. Any ball thrown by the pitcher which bounces, should be an automatic signal to the first base runner to take off for second. By reading the trajectory of the pitch, the runner should be able to read a ball in the dirt before it bounces and be on their way to second base. it is a very difficult play for the catcher to make a clean play on a bouncing pitch and get in a strong throwing position.

When leading off, a runner should be approximately one step and a dive from getting back to first base, on the pitchers pick off move. Watch the pitcher's heels, not their head or shoulders. With a right handed pitcher, if the pitcher raises the left heel first, they are going home. If the right heel raises first, they are making a pick off attempt. With a left handed pitcher, if the stolen base is on, the runner should go on first movement, even if the pitcher is throwing to first base. If the runner waits until the left-hander throws home, the advantage is to the catcher. If the runner goes on first movement, and the pitcher throws to first base, the fielder still has to quick and accurate throw to second base, with a good tag. 8 times out of 10 the runner will be safe.

On a batted ball to the outfield, the runner should always be planning for third base. If the bnall is hit to left field or left-center field, where the runner can see the play in front of them, it is the runner's decision to attempt to reach third. When the ball is hit anywhere between right center and the right field corner, the runner should be picking up the third base coach for instructions. Three or four steps before reaching second base, the runner should quickly glance at the coach. The coach should either hold both arms up, meaning stop, or swing one arm in a circle meaning keep running. After rounding the bag, the runner should focus on the coach again who may stop the runner and send him back to the bag if a strong throw looks to be online. If the outfielder is throwing behind the runner to second base, the coach should hold up one hand for the stop sign and point to second base, meaning stop on the bag.
Advanced: The one way lead. Early in a game, facing an un-familiar pitcher, it is a good idea to test their move to first base. The runner needs to take a bigger than normal lead, with all thoughts being to get back to first base. This will draw a throw to first and give all future runners a look at the pitcher's move to first. Watch for a pitcher who is setting up the runner with a slow, hard move to first, to make the runner over-confident, then a quick move, to pick the runner off.

The deep lead. In some situtations, usually with two outs, a runner on first and second, or loaded bases, with a left handed hitter, the first baseman will play deep. At this time, the first base runner should take a deep lead. From the base, take a couple of steps back, then take your lead towards second. This gives the runner a better angle to third base. It is the first base coach's responsibility to watch for the first baseman sneaking in behind the runner on a pick off play.

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To comment on any of these baseball tips please send us an email.  Baseball is a tremendously enjoyable game for kids to play.  These baseball coaching tips are provided to make the game easier to coach and increase the skill level of your baseball players.  This website is dedicated to the advancement of minor baseball players. It is about developing the fundamental skills of young baseball players by providing them instruction and coaching appropriate to their age and skill level.

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Baseball Trivia Answer: Dizzy Dean

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