The Premier Baseball Social Network for Players, Coaches, Scouts, and Umpires
I have been in a few rundowns and here is what I think is a great way to make it back to either base safely most of the time. When I determine which base I need to go back to and I am almost near the base, I watch the receiver's eyes and glove position. This normally tells where the throw from behind me is coming from. I adjust my running lane only those few inches and normally the throw hits me and I am safe. It doesnot work 100% of the time but it severly increases my odds of making it back safely.
To answer how most teams do it I will say most do it wrong.
To do it right, it takes one throw. Practice the one throw technique and if it takes more than two throws then stop the drill and reset. I understand you are concerned about how to get players in position to execute the rundown. I would make sure that every base is covered and backed up but it should take only three players to get the out. Working on how to "feed" the bases is wasting valuable practice time when the play should have been over before an outfielder can get to second or a player in the pickle can peel off and get back to do it again.
I would work on the double steal defense even though Sparky Anderson said there is no defense for the double steal. I think what he meant was you will give up a run to get an out or you will give up second base to keep the run from scoring. What you don't want to happen is to give up the run but not get an out either. So work on it.
I don't see this even in the Majors but the way I teach the rundown defense is to have the player with the ball run directly at the player caught off base. When the base runner commits to the base, have the fielder that is at that base run toward the base runner. I see most fielders, even pros, stay near the base to receive the throw. The problem with this is, it forces the player with the ball to have to throw it too early which allows the runner time to reverse course and this continues until you wear him out or throw the ball away. The player with the ball should hold it up in throwing position and never fake or pump. You are faking out your teammate as much as the runner and you want the runner to continue in one direction anyway so don't pump it because you don't want him to slow down. When the runner and the fielder receiving the ball are converging and there is no chance that the runner can pass the receiver or change direction without being tagged, then the player with the ball should throw chest high to the receiver who can use his momentum to overtake the runner. One throw.