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Thread: First thing to teach a pitcher who is moving to open bases?

  1. #1

    First thing to teach a pitcher who is moving to open bases?

    Hi folks.

    My son will be playing on an 10u rec team this year, and I expect doing a good bit of pitching.

    What's new this year:
    • Leadoffs
    • Balks
    • Taking home on a passed ball
    • Taking first on a dropped 3rd strike


    Mostly I want to give him some the most basic possible instruction on what to do when a runner is on base. How to throw over without making a balk, varying time to look over, etc.

    I want to keep it as basic and simple as possible...

    thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbrages View Post
    Hi folks.

    My son will be playing on an 10u rec team this year, and I expect doing a good bit of pitching.

    What's new this year:
    • Leadoffs
    • Balks
    • Taking home on a passed ball
    • Taking first on a dropped 3rd strike


    Mostly I want to give him some the most basic possible instruction on what to do when a runner is on base. How to throw over without making a balk, varying time to look over, etc.

    I want to keep it as basic and simple as possible...

    thanks!
    First, I would like to say 10u is way to early for these things. This is way to much information, and things to learn at 10u. Also, depending on the base length (More than likely little league) throwing out someone is near impossible with leading off, and passed balls. If it is a rec league every 5th or more pitches are going to get past the catcher. I will get off my soap box about that. Can you please provide what information you are looking for? I was unable to find a question in your statement. Are you looking for our thoughts on what you should, and should not teach? Are you looking for information on how to teach these concepts? Sorry, I was just unable to find the question you are looking for.

  3. #3
    Basically, what do I need to teach him at this point?

    I want to keep it simple and I want to keep him from being distracted as much as I can.

    He is a right-handed pitcher. I'm assuming that when runners are on, he should:

    1) always pitch from the stretch
    2) take a look over towards first at varied intervals
    3) throw over to first if the runner seems to be taking too big of a lead
    4) be ready to cover home on a passed ball with a runner on 3rd

    Should you be looking without throwing over? How about throwing over without looking? What is the technique for throwing over without balking - take a step backwards with the rear foot to disengage the rubber, then throw? Are there different considerations for holding runners on 2nd and 3rd? What if you spin around to throw over to first and your first baseman is picking his nose? Or don't ever worry about the runner and "just throw strikes, Johnny"?

    I just want to teach him the basics, but I have no experience.

    Also, I agree that this seems too young for this stuff, but that is the league rule. He does play with leadoffs in friendly games with his cousins, but I'm pretty sure they don't call any balks. He is a smart kid and I think he's excited about the open bases idea, so I believe he will figure it out.
    Last edited by bbrages; 01-09-2013 at 10:54 AM.

  4. #4
    IMO 10U is too early but some leagues are what they are and no getting around it. Last fall we told our guys just to work on the batter. Leading off and 65 bases is an auto steal. A walk is a triple in two pitches.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbrages View Post
    Basically, what do I need to teach him at this point?

    I want to keep it simple and I want to keep him from being distracted as much as I can.

    He is a right-handed pitcher. I'm assuming that when runners are on, he should:

    1) always pitch from the stretch
    2) take a look over towards first at varied intervals
    3) throw over to first if the runner seems to be taking too big of a lead
    4) be ready to cover home on a passed ball with a runner on 3rd

    Should you be looking without throwing over? How about throwing over without looking? What is the technique for throwing over without balking - take a step backwards with the rear foot to disengage the rubber, then throw? Are there different considerations for holding runners on 2nd and 3rd? What if you spin around to throw over to first and your first baseman is picking his nose? Or don't ever worry about the runner and "just throw strikes, Johnny"?

    I just want to teach him the basics, but I have no experience.

    Also, I agree that this seems too young for this stuff, but that is the league rule. He does play with leadoffs in friendly games with his cousins, but I'm pretty sure they don't call any balks. He is a smart kid and I think he's excited about the open bases idea, so I believe he will figure it out.
    I sent you a private message.

  6. #6
    I too think that 10U is too young for leading off but the leagues are out there and I think the player needs to know the basics to keep from being embarassed. Work on his mechanics from both the wind-up and the stretch. Strikes are more important than anything else. I would show him the basic step off the rubber move just to hold runners but not much more than that with a pick off. You can teach him to pause with varying times after he comes set when in the stretch. The runners are going to steal and seldom be thrown out even if he knows what he is doing. The more control he has, the less runners on base, and thus less "stuff" to worry about for him. Good Luck!

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    What I found (though we went to open bases at 9u) was that it is somewhat useless to worry about runners. They will steal. However, the occasional inside move is extremely effective at getting the occasional pickoff on the runner attempting to steal third. Just showing it slows up that part of the game. For runners at first, it's hardly worth the effort unless you want to take a look at earlier posts concerning an inside move with a runner on first.

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    What I see a lot with pitchers learning how to hold runners is that they do not come to a set position prior to the pitch (balk). Aside from that just learning how to pitch from a stretch. This will be a track meet at this level, just about everyone on the team will be able to steal a base. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbrages View Post
    Mostly I want to give him some the most basic possible instruction on what to do when a runner is on base.
    Teach him how to step off the rubber. That means stepping back toward second base with his back foot.

    That's the first step toward learning how to hold runners.

    Then teach him to cover home on a wild pitch.
    Last edited by Chris O'Leary; 01-09-2013 at 12:39 PM.

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    Duplicate.

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    Just work on throwing strikes, from the stretch, with runners on. No matter how hard he tries runners will run and be safe.

    For those of you who think it is to early, I disagree. Yes, it is a lot of information to process but just keep it simple. Teach them just how to pitch from the stretch and move on from there. If a 10 year old can learn how to play video games with numerous buttons and numerous combinations, why can't they learn how to hold a runner and throw a strike? Start now and it gets easier as they get older.

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    Just work on throwing strikes, from the stretch, with runners on. No matter how hard he tries runners will run and be safe.

    For those of you who think it is to early, I disagree. Yes, it is a lot of information to process but just keep it simple. Teach them just how to pitch from the stretch and move on from there. If a 10 year old can learn how to play video games with numerous buttons and numerous combinations, why can't they learn how to hold a runner and throw a strike? Start now and it gets easier as they get older.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HYP View Post
    Just work on throwing strikes, from the stretch, with runners on. No matter how hard he tries runners will run and be safe.

    For those of you who think it is to early, I disagree. Yes, it is a lot of information to process but just keep it simple. Teach them just how to pitch from the stretch and move on from there. If a 10 year old can learn how to play video games with numerous buttons and numerous combinations, why can't they learn how to hold a runner and throw a strike? Start now and it gets easier as they get older.
    I don't think the major problem is learning to much information at once. It is more of runners running everywhere. You can tell the youth to not worry about the runners all you want, but you know what is going through their minds. It is discouraging watching the other team run all over the place, and not being able to do much about it. I believe leading off comes with moving the bases. However, this then puts stress on the catcher.

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    It's hard to stop the track meet that is preteen open bases. Pitchers don't learn good moves overnight. But what they can do to start is make runners come to a stop. Make the runner freeze before going to the plate. He should mix up the number of times he looks to first each pitch. BUT, don't get so caught up on the runner he loses focus on the hitter. I would rather have my pitcher get three outs and give up a couple of slolen bases then start walking hitters because he loses focus on pitching.
    Last edited by tg643; 01-09-2013 at 02:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
    Teach him how to step off the rubber. That means stepping back toward second base with his back foot.

    That's the first step toward learning how to hold runners.

    Then teach him to cover home on a wild pitch.
    Do you mean just step back and hold runner or step back and throw to first? I personally never teach stepping over the rubber. I only teach pivot and throw. The step back IMO is a wasted move. Unless you believe the runner is getting to big of a lead and you just need to regroup. You can then just step off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MD Diamond Sports View Post
    I don't think the major problem is learning to much information at once. It is more of runners running everywhere. You can tell the youth to not worry about the runners all you want, but you know what is going through their minds. It is discouraging watching the other team run all over the place, and not being able to do much about it. I believe leading off comes with moving the bases. However, this then puts stress on the catcher.
    First lesson in self control. Pitchers learn quickly to throw strikes with runners on base and defense makes plays. This will limit the damage of runners stealing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HYP View Post
    Do you mean just step back and hold runner or step back and throw to first? I personally never teach stepping over the rubber. I only teach pivot and throw. The step back IMO is a wasted move. Unless you believe the runner is getting to big of a lead and you just need to regroup. You can then just step off.
    Stepping off doesn't accomplish much, but it's a first step toward getting pitchers to just think about the runner and not just let them get a running start.

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    I agree with Chris, barges wanted basic, it doesn't get more basic than stepping off or just holding the ball. At this age, depending on skill-set on the field, each time the ball leaves his hand messing with pick-off attempts is a heightened scoring possibility.
    I like Root's approach also but you'll have to practice it with a trusted fielder many times to get it reasonably safe to work in game situations.

  19. #19
    If this were a thread about how to steal bases, then guys would be posting that the pickoff moves of most RHPs don't pose much of a threat or deterrent. And I would agree.

    But since it's a thread about how to deter basestealing, guys are posting about how important it is to throw over.
    Skip

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    Well throwing over is really only part of the methodology of keeping the run game suppressed.
    I teach varying time holding the ball, stepping off and a few pics. At the age range barges is discussing the low pct. of lost bases, holding back the flood gates would seem the most logical step to begin, so I recommend the plays easiest on the pitcher and fielders and a great basis/foundation for beginning to learn and incorporate pics into the infield strategy. Top-level travel squads may be able to initiate the process of learning pics but my expectation would be that they (Pics) need a bit more mature player/athleticism to pull off reliably...with of course exceptions for the "elite, mostly elite and super-elite".
    I understand the whats and whys of the other posters..just laying out my logic too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper5 View Post
    If this were a thread about how to steal bases, then guys would be posting that the pickoff moves of most RHPs don't pose much of a threat or deterrent. And I would agree.

    But since it's a thread about how to deter basestealing, guys are posting about how important it is to throw over.
    LOL! That's how baseball coaching works, or didn't you get the memo? That reminds me of a time when I was a highschool pitching coach and the head coach came over and gave my pitchers a big speech on how important it was to get hitters to hit the ball on the ground. Keep it low, he said. The ground ball is a pitchers best friend. Out of curiosity, I followed him over to the batting cage where he went into a coaching session teaching hitters to hit down on the ball and keep it hard on the ground. I could only shake my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipper5 View Post
    If this were a thread about how to steal bases, then guys would be posting that the pickoff moves of most RHPs don't pose much of a threat or deterrent. And I would agree.

    But since it's a thread about how to deter basestealing, guys are posting about how important it is to throw over.
    Agreed. RHP picking over very rarely will become an out. At the high school level we use it, mostly, to gain information and possibly take away a little of his lead. Problem is, it sometimes increases the lead. We will do it to see if batter is squaring to bunt and which way the runner is leaning.

    The only time it will become an out is if the pitcher gets away with a balk move and the runner was going.

  23. #23
    RHP can pick effectively with a runner on third, though, right? I'm expecting a lot of runners making it to third, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HYP View Post
    Agreed. RHP picking over very rarely will become an out. At the high school level we use it, mostly, to gain information and possibly take away a little of his lead. Problem is, it sometimes increases the lead. We will do it to see if batter is squaring to bunt and which way the runner is leaning.

    The only time it will become an out is if the pitcher gets away with a balk move and the runner was going.
    You just mentioned the negative side effect I've seen a number of times. If your pickoff move isn't very good it just encourages the runner to take a bigger lead.

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    In fact, one thing we used to do at 9 and 10 with a pitcher who did, indeed, have a good pickoff move was to have him throw weakly over a few times to encourage a bigger lead and then get him with the real move. Later my pitchers learn to do this with mechanics so that they don't really throw over faster, just more compact and efficient.

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