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I had the pleasure of going down to the Little League World Series on Friday and Saturday.
It still amazes me how many baserunning mistakes are made. In the New England vs. Northwest game which NewEngland won 3-1, there were two baserunning mistakes.   With a player on second, and a grounder to the shortstop, the baserunner just stayed on the base when he should have bounced off the base almost to the where the shortstop was and advanced on the throw to first base. This ended up costing his team a run. The second mistake was with a player on second, and this time on a grounder to the shortstop, he broke for third on contact. The shortstop easily threw him out. These two mistakes may have been avoided if baserunning was practiced with their teams. Each team should spend 10-15 minutes at each practice going over baserunning situations.  It is much better to practice the situation then just tell the players what to do from the third base coaching box when the situation occurs.

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Great post! I too am amazed at the lack of base running mistakes in youth leagues all over. During my 14 years of playing baseball I vividly remember working on base running every season. Most of my coaches took a small portion of practice to go over it. Occasionally our high school coach would combine batting practice with base running or when we were going over fielding situations there would be a rotation of players to practice the base running portion of the drill.

Jeff Wise
The one that amazes me the most is when a player breaks on contact and not knowing when the ball is a groundball or a liner that me be caught. I usually coach the bases and I alway make it a point to tell the baserunners to make sure the liners go through the infield before advancing.
Hey David!
Basically I'm on the same page with you. My baseball coaching experience is
90% on the youth level and preaching to the baserunners to make sure that
line drives go through the infield is the way I teach it also. In all fairness to
the other theory, on the big field, there are situations where the players are told to run on contact.


Marty Schupak
The only situation I can think of where a player is told to run on contact is a hit and run situation. But the baserunner needs to spot the ball to see if its on the ground, a liner or a pop up requring going back to the bag. At the youth level, this is almost never seen. I almost never see it in adult leagues as well. Go figure.
What gravy is to Thanksgiving, the running game is to baseball. That special something that makes all the components blend together for a truly enjoyable experience.
Not much is thought about it, gravy just appears on the table. We all love it; but how it got there is a mystery to most of us. We're just happy it did.

With so much to work on and so many players to work with, skills on the base paths often get relegated to that mystery appearance status.

If a player can run, he is seen as a proficient base runner, thus needing little work.
If he is slow, he is thought to be a poor base runner, so the effort gets placed in other areas. Fast or slow, all players need to be skilled on the bases for their teams to be successful.

If your offensive philosophy is to make your opponent defend the entire field, from a foot in front of the plate to the outfield fences and all that lies in between, time needs to allotted for learning all the skills needed while on base.

What good is getting on base if you can't run'em! The worst fault many Major League players have is they can't run the bases.
Base running has nothing to do with speed. It is knowing the situation, and being mentally focused.
Learn to run the bases!! This very under-appreciated skill will go a long way.

Stay Focused
Mike "The HitMan" Easler
I love base running and we stress the most basic fundamentals in college. As a college coach I want all of the runners doing the same thing all the time. We break down leads and secondary leads from each base. We also cover how to pick up the coach properly, touching first base, sliding, how to look in on a hit and run, and other little things as they come up.

In 2010 I was a coach at Central Michigan University and we harped on these details...we won the MAC Championship.

This year I am coaching at Davenport University and we are doing the same things...we will see what happens this spring but in the fall things went well.

I used to coach at the youth level and I have some pretty good pointers and tips on my website.

www.samflamont.comCheck it out and leave a comment and feel free to share anything you think that could help the topics I have written about.
I couldn't agree more. I think baserunning is bad at most levels. I focus on it and one of the most overachieving teams I coached was also the best baserunning team. Louisville does a great job teaching baserunning.
Think about how many times you have seen a runner get backed picked at first or cought in a run down after a missed bunt. Think about how many time you have seen a base runner not prepared to take the next base when the outfielder bobbles or misplays a ball. Bad routes, lack of hustle, lack of focus are all things that greatly affect base running, which greatly affects the outcome of the game.

The play I can't stand to watch is the dredded 6-5 tag play because the runner on second did not see the ball through the infield.

Base running is like hitting and fielding, you only get better if you practice.

I just put up a post on about improving your game speed by improving your baserunning.
David, that is a good point about making the line drives go through but you must actually practice it.

If you think about it, making the line drive go through makes sense but unless you condition a runner during practice on how to see the ball and react they will never get better. I like what you say and think the base coach must remind runners but they must have their muscle memory to call on when the situation occurs. Try to implement a few situations in practice like making the line drive get through or making the ground ball to SS get through with just a runner on second. Make a list of your main concerns and practice them daily. It could be as simple as 3 five minute fast paced stations doing the same movement over and over while listening to a coach yell out the command before the action happens.

This way when game time comes, they know the situation they hear your voice and put it all together and react the way you want them to when the ball is hit.

I have some base running tips along with other baseball related advice on my site
If you can read the ball properly no matter where the infield is playing you will be able to score. What we are going to talk about is a big hop off the bat. Remember we are aggressive in the first place, having this mindset will help this play. What you are looking for is a big hop off the bat. If the infield or corners are in you can score no matter what if you read the ball off the bat. As the pitch is coming in you get your lead and when the ball is hit you are looking to see the ball down. If you see a big hop do not hesitate, you must score on this play. This is a tough play to write too much about but you can practice getting reads during batting practice. Do not waste your time during BP, always do something to get better. Work on getting your reads and you will help your team score runs that you might not have scored. Give it a shot, remember aggressive play is rewarded.

Sam Flamont
Davenport University
Assistant Baseball Coach
When you are young you are taught to listen and look for your coaches. This is very true especially if you hit a ball to right field that will surely be a double and possibly a triple. The rule when running bases is any ball in front of you means you have to decide if you can make it to third or if you should pull up for a double. You know your speed you can see the ball and you should be able to judge if you will be safe or not.

Now on a ball behind you it is your responsibility to pick up your coach. If you hit a ball over the right fielders head and you know for sure you have a double about half way to second you need to pick up your third base coach to find out if he wants you to push it or hold at second. Why so early? you do this early so you can make the adjustment with your eyes back to the bag if he wants you to come over to third. You don’t want to get your feet crossed up and trip over the bag. Also, if you are going to push it you want to take a small arch like you do at first on a hit, just on a smaller scale. So picking your coach up early will allow you to do this. Also, if he wants you to hold up you can make sure you have time to pull up in order to not over run the bag. Also, this will keep you from pulling a muscle with an abrupt stop.

Remember do not make the first or third out at third so on the ball in front of you, you must be 100% sure you will be safe. I count this as mental error for players not a physical error. I can deal with physical mistakes or errors but mental mistakes and errors drive me crazy. Play hard and play smart, now go have some fun.

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