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Thread: Base Coach Signals

  1. #1

    Arrow Base Coach Signals

    Hope you can help me here. While I played football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and track in my lifetime I never played baseball except for one season of little league. Am doing research on the hand signals used by third base coaches and am having trouble finding any info. Without compromising any secrets or having me thrown out of the game, I would love to hear anything you wish to divulge here. Take it for granted that I am ignorant in the details. (I've also posted this in statistics and analysis)

    Thanks,
    DW

  2. #2
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    Here's some signals I have used in the past...

    SIGNALS:
    Hand signals are used in the game of baseball in order for coaches to openly communicate to players on the field without the opposing team understanding the communication. Typical signals include a message and a key. A key is used to alert the players that a signal follows. Items to keep in mind:

    1. Third base coach is responsible for giving batters and runners offensive signals.
    2. Batter is responsible to look to the coach for a signal every pitch.
    3. Batter steps out of box for every signal.
    4. Runners take all signals from the bag.
    5. The catcher is responsible to relay defensive signals from the dugout.
    6. Keys will change as necessary.
    7. Offensive signal will follow immediately after the key.
    8. The catcher is responsible to relay pitch signals when called from the dugout.

    OFFENSE

    Straight steal Key - Shirt across
    Delayed steal Key - Shirt down
    Sac bunt Key – Belt
    Drag bunt Key - Arm up and down
    Hit and run Key – Hat
    Take a pitch Key – Watch
    Swing away Double clap
    Go on me - Double fists to chest – right hand on hip – go on release
    Do over First finger roll
    Acknowledgement- Touch helmet

    DEFENSE

    3 and 1 - short cover, 2nd base cut “Here we go!” – Head – glove slap – (Last touch)
    3 and 1 - throw down “Here we go!” – Chest – glove slap – (Last touch)
    3 and 1 - pump fake three “Here we go!” – Thigh – glove slap – (Last touch)
    Pick off on one 5-5-1
    Pick off on two 5-5-2
    Pick off on three 5-5-3
    Pick on first second pitch 5-2-1
    Pick on second - second pitch 5-2-2
    Pick on third second pitch 5-2-3
    Wipe off Fingers down – hand shake
    Bunt 3rd base side “Here we go!” – Right hand tap head – left hand out
    Bunt 1st base side “Here we go!” – Left hand tap head – right hand out



    FIELD POSITIONS

    Hands together over head Outfield straight away deep
    Two hands straight out Outfield straight away shallow
    Left arm up right arm out Outfield favor right side
    Right arm up left arm out Outfield favor left side
    Right hand waving behind the head Outfield nothing behind you
    Cross hands above the head Outfield do or die
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
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  3. #3
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    I should have added.... Don't be too concerned on what others use. The key is using something your team will understand. Several season I gave the team the items I wanted to comunicate and they came up with the signals...
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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  4. #4
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    Jake said it best, use signs that make sense to your team. That is why a lot of teams do belt - bunt or leg - steal. I set things up with sayings. For example, our indicator was double skin - chin to begin. So, if I did any skin and touched a part of the body it was nothing. If I touched any double skin and didn't touch the chin, it was nothing. However, once I touched that chin and then another skin, I was ready to signal. Also, I always had a wipe off signal. Since we all know to wipe our nose, that was my wipe off. Finally, we have always had a "hot" sign. "Hot" is another indicator that if I touched it and went to a body part, the sign was on. So, really two indicators. We were very complicated because coaches in our area work hard at trying to steal other team signs.

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    Try teachkidsbaseball.com.

  6. #6
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    I use the # of touches system.......

    OFFENSIVE SIGNS


    Indicator will be the right hand. A sign is “on” when the right hand touches the bill of the cap for the SECOND time. Following the indicator, count the number of touches. The touches will be ended by a clap of the hands. When the hitter and base runners have received the signs, they will touch the top of their helmet to indicate that they understand.


    Indicator = Touching the bill of the cap for a SECOND time.

    1 touch = Sacrifice bunt

    1 touch and double fists = Suicide squeeze bunt

    2 touches = Steal

    3 touches = Hit and run  hitter must swing at the pitch, even if it is a ball. Try to make contact and hit the ball on the ground.

    4 touches = Fake Bunt and run

    5 touches = Slash

    Other signs:

    Wiping the arms = Previous sign is cancelled

    2 hands to the bill of the cap = repeat the same signal called on previous pitch

    Wiping the pant leg = take the next pitch

    Touching the top of helmet = sign is understood

    Circling the finger = player needs the sign repeated

    “How ya do?” = bunt for base hit (drag bunt, push bunt, slap bunt)

    The coach can also signal a # with his fingers for the designated sign to put it on at any time without the indicator.
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  7. #7
    Thank you all! This is indeed an education for me. Anything else you can share will be greatly appreciated.

    Any anecdotes on signal usage, stealing signs, misunderstood signs, etc?



    DW

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWolfman View Post
    Thank you all! This is indeed an education for me. Anything else you can share will be greatly appreciated.

    Any anecdotes on signal usage, stealing signs, misunderstood signs, etc?
    DW
    The higher the level the more creative you will need to be. At the younger ages I found that even IF an opposing team picks your signals it won't matter much.
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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  9. #9
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    Coaches Stealing Signs

    At the younger ages, before high school, I think it is bush league for "coaches" or parents to steal signs. If the kids can steal the signs more power to them and I'd be impressed. And IMO it is fine for coaches to 'teach' kids how to steal signs. But for grown men to steal signs from 13 year old kids and younger players, especially from the catcher and relay them to the hitter is bs. Yes stealing signs is part of baseball but the adults shouldn't be having that kind of effect on kids games. Let'em play!

  10. #10
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    I also agree with all the above and will add my 2 cents. I'll keep it basic for the sake of this discussion and just talk about offensive signals.

    For the younger levels - I have my signal be the first and last signal I give. For example here would be my signs:
    Shirt = Steal
    Belt = Bunt
    Hat = Hit&Run
    Wipe Hands = Forget what I just did
    Leg = nothing, just try to get a hit and runner be heads up

    If I wanted the runner to steal I would touch the following or similar: Shirt > belt > leg > arm > shirt.
    This way if they missed the first, they should be able to pick up the last.
    As for stealing signs I always told me younger kids that it didn't matter what the other team is doing you still have to execute your play to make the out or get the bunt down.

    At the older level on the 60/90 field my signs get a little more complicated, but not much. I have an indicator signal which means that I can touch anything, but only the sign immediately after the indicator is the sign. For example: If the bill of my cap is the indicator then I touch my bill then my shirt that means steal.
    Additionally, I would change the actual sign to be say Skin = Steal. So after the indicator any skin I touch equals the steal. This way if the other team is picking up that my arm is steal, then I can touch my cheek and it is still steal.

    I've also used the number method: 1 touch = steal, 2 touches = bunt, etc...

    I try to change it every year so that the kids get a feel for all the different methods.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLinTx View Post
    At the younger ages, before high school, I think it is bush league for "coaches" or parents to steal signs. If the kids can steal the signs more power to them and I'd be impressed. And IMO it is fine for coaches to 'teach' kids how to steal signs. But for grown men to steal signs from 13 year old kids and younger players, especially from the catcher and relay them to the hitter is bs. Yes stealing signs is part of baseball but the adults shouldn't be having that kind of effect on kids games. Let'em play!
    Agreed!!!
    At the older level for me, 13-14 y.o. I don't bring up stealing signs or anything, but sometimes a player will come to me and tell me what their sign is because they caught on. I tell that player to discuss it with his teammates but to focus on doing his job and not relying on guessing the other teams signs.

    In my opinion, I can figure out when a curve ball is coming and tell the batter, but how then does he learn to hit a curve ball on his own? When he gets to high school he won't know how to read the curve out of the pitcher's hand and identify the pitch early. Instead he'll be dependent on his coach telling him what is coming.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    The higher the level the more creative you will need to be. At the younger ages I found that even IF an opposing team picks your signals it won't matter much.
    Yes, even if the opposing team gets the signal I'm just happy that someone knows them. Lord knows 3/4 of our players don't.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    Yes, even if the opposing team gets the signal I'm just happy that someone knows them. Lord knows 3/4 of our players don't.
    Hahahaha!!!! That's too funny and too true . . .

    Heck, even at the HS level, every season it never hails . . . a third of the way through the season, I'll have a player at a beginning of a game come up to me and ask, "Hey Coach, what are the signs again?".

    I've used basically the same method ("indicator/sign" as "jbolt" talks about) for the past 10 years or so . . . and even with the 10/11/12 year old teams I used to coach, who had no problems with them. Crazy thing now, is most times it's not a bench player who's asking, but rather one of the kids whose been out there at the plate or on bases for the previous 9 or 10 games . . . supposedly reading and responding to the signs.
    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudvnine View Post
    Hahahaha!!!! That's too funny and too true . . .

    Heck, even at the HS level, every season it never hails . . . a third of the way through the season, I'll have a player at a beginning of a game come up to me and ask, "Hey Coach, what are the signs again?".

    I've used basically the same method ("indicator/sign" as "jbolt" talks about) for the past 10 years or so . . . and even with the 10/11/12 year old teams I used to coach, who had no problems with them. Crazy thing now, is most times it's not a bench player who's asking, but rather one of the kids whose been out there at the plate or on bases for the previous 9 or 10 games . . . supposedly reading and responding to the signs.
    I used to take the time on the bus ride on away games to review.... I would do in rapid succession and make a game of it trying to stump the players with speed... They did a pretty good job getting them... Now making certain they looked at the coach every pitch was another thing.
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

  15. #15
    The Complete Book of Baseball Signs and Plays [Paperback]
    Stu Southworth

    Available on amazon

  16. #16
    I agree that the younger the team, the more important it is to keep it simple. I had some really simple signs. Most games where I was in the 3B coaches box in front of the opponent's dugout the coaches on their team would kid with me saying that they had my signs down already. That would be like the 1st inning.

    Your more likely to get that than an opposing coach yelling "BUNT!!!!" to his players when you give the sign. I unfortunately have coached against such tools. They are few and far between thankfully.
    There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWolfman View Post
    Hope you can help me here. While I played football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and track in my lifetime I never played baseball except for one season of little league. Am doing research on the hand signals used by third base coaches and am having trouble finding any info. Without compromising any secrets or having me thrown out of the game, I would love to hear anything you wish to divulge here. Take it for granted that I am ignorant in the details. (I've also posted this in statistics and analysis)

    Thanks,
    DW
    The older the players and the higher the level of play, the more complex signals get. For 12 and under kids, you have to keep it simple.

    We always used the same signal for a play, but each game we would change the "indicator."
    The signal for the play was always the one that followed the indicator.

    Bunt = touch belt
    steal = touch shoulder

    so if the indicator was touch of hat then if I touched my hat, then my belt, it meant bunt.
    In the next game, the indicator might be a touch of my chin, so touch chin then belt meant bunt.

    I always touched something before the indicator and after the signal, to try to confuse the other team.

    If hat was the indicator and I wanted a bunt, I would touch shoulder, then hat, then belt, then chin.

    You can make up any system that you want, you just have to hope that all your players have the system memorized.
    Last edited by jbooth; 08-28-2011 at 05:56 PM.

  18. #18
    With regards to your concern about giving away your signs (I assume you are worried about your signs being stolen and not stealing the opponents)

    Two keys that I don't see mentioned are

    1: make sure the batter and runner both know to check for the sign. Not as important at the real young ages, but a good habit to get the kids into and will be required as they get older. Nothing says "steal" like the 3B coach giving a signal to the runner, while the batter isn't even looking.

    2 : Go through a set of signs on every pitch even if they are all "non" signs. Same philosphy as above. If you don't go through a set of signs on the first 2 pitches, and all of a sudden you do before the third pitch, it could be an indicator to your opponent that you are getting ready to try something (Steal, bunt, etc.)

    One thing to keep in mind with signs - especially at the young ages is that you need to re-enforce to the kids that they have to trust the coach. If they make an out following a sign, it is on the coach and not on them. Use it as a teaching time to explain why the coach tried that play and again explain that it was the coaches decision and not their mistake.

  19. #19
    After seeing this thread, I think I'm going to start using signs for the Fall Season in our 7/8 division.
    1. Wipe across the stomach: I'm hungry
    2. Touch to the mouth: I'm thirsty
    3. Stand cross-legged: I gotta go!

  20. #20
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    speed things up

    Regarding the first post from 3 years ago, where I'm from in NJ, a player must keep one foot in the box at all times. A good rule IMO.
    Whitey Ashburn's free plug on radio when he was hungry...." Happy birthday to the Celebrese twins....Plain and Pepperoni. "

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    Yes, even if the opposing team gets the signal I'm just happy that someone knows them. Lord knows 3/4 of our players don't.
    This made me laugh out loud. So true.

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