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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coaching Baseball - 12 Things That 3rd Base Coaches Should Say to Baserunners

By Nick Dixon

Fewer things in baseball are more embarrassing for a young baseball player than to make a base running mistake that cost his team a run. When a runner gets on base and moves to scoring position, at 2nd base or 3rd base, the momentum and confidence of the team is increased. The team and the player, and the fans feel like they have a good chance of scoring a run. But, to have that chance of scoring removed by a blunder by the runner or coach can be total demoralizing to the team. Here I discuss 12 things that the 3rd base coach should say, convey, or signal to the runners at 2nd and 3rd base.

Here are 12 things often said to a base runner between pitches.

1) Make sure that the runner knows the number of outs and the count on the batter.

2) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "Read the ground ball". The runner should only advance toward 3rd on a ground ball hit to the runners left. The runner holds on a ground ball hit on the third base side of the runner to prevent getting cut down at third.

3) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "See the line drive through". The runner should freeze on any ball hit in the air. The runner only advance toward 3B after the line drive clears the infielders.

4) 2B Runner (2 outs) "Run on contact". On Ground ball hit to third, the runner should read it, not get tagged for the third out at third base. The runner should stop and make the fielder throw the ball to first base.

5) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "Tag on a deep fly to right" The runner will retreat to the bag to get into a position to tag up and advance should the ball to the outfield be deep enough to allow a tag and advance.

6) Runners at 1B, 1B & 2B, or bases loaded(2 outs - full count on the batter) "Make sure the front foot lands" The runners will be moving on the pitch, must hold until the runners make sure that the pitcher is going to the plate and not picking to a bag.

7) Runner at any base. (Any time) Extend your secondary lead. The runner is not getting enough lead extension on the pitch to the plate. The runner should take a proper "primary lead" and then extend the lead on what is called the "secondary lead".

8) 3B Runner (Any time) Take your walking lead...stay out here. The runner will get a walking secondary lead on the pitch and should make sure to be completely in foul territory as the runner walks toward the plate. The runner must be in foul territory for safety reasons and to prevent getting hit by a fair ball.

9) 3B Runner (Pass Ball Situation) you must get a side-to-side kick; straight back will not get it. The game is being played at a field with a close backstop. Any ball going straight back is impossible to go home on. The catcher will go straight back when the ball gets by. Therefore if the ball takes a side-to-side kick off the catcher, umpire, or back stop, the chances of scoring are much better.

10) 3B Runner(Less than 2 outs) Ball hit sharp, you stay. This means if the corners are playing up, the runner will hold at third if he ball is hit to the pitcher or the corners, if the ball is hit to SS or 2B, the runner will score. It is important to play it safe at third with the secondary lead. The reason is if you take a big secondary and get down the line too far, you can get out on a ball hit sharply to 3B.

11) 3B Runner (No outs) Defense is pulled in. See the ground ball through. The runner should only try to score after the ground ball gets by the fielders. The runner will play it safe to make sure.

12) 3B Runner (Anytime). Get as far away from the bag as the 3rd baseball is. Pitcher is throwing out of the stretch.

The runner should take his primary lead based on how far the third baseman is playing off the bag. A normal walking secondary lead is taken. The reason for this is to prevent the 3B runner from getting picked if the pitcher it throwing out of the stretch position.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick