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  • setting up at first base

    I've been teaching my kids, who are both right handed, to place their right heel on top of the inside part of the bag, make a nice target with the glove, and then when the throw comes take a step toward it with the left foot. This is how Cal Ripken teaches it in his defense video (the glove and glove side foot work in tandem, the throwing side foot stays anchored with the heel on the bag).

    I'm reading DiMaggio's book right now, and in it he says the first baseman should stand with both heels against the corner of the bag nearest the fielder throwing the ball, and then use either foot to step toward the throw, depending on which side the throw is coming on (step with the left foot if the throw is left, right foot if the throw is to the right).

    How do you guys teach the footwork at first base? I'm curious now to look at some video of how the pros do it, I'm guessing there might be more than one method out there.

    I would love to find some video of a Gonzalez or Pujols breaking it down and talking about their technique.

  • #2
    Put your toe in the dirt, with your cleats touching the side of the bag. Gives you a couple more inches of stretch (vs standing on top of the bag), and you won't have your foot stepped on. Contrary to popular belief, its easier this way to keep your foot from pulling off since you always have something to push against.

    When the fielder throws, and only then, step with your glove foot toward the ball. Do not step and stretch before he throws the ball - most bad 1B do this.
    Last edited by songtitle; 03-02-2012, 07:01 AM.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • #3
      It's funny, just went through a couple of coaching vids and what they say to do is not what I did. Then I went to watch a player demonstrating scooping techniques and yep, there's the footwork I recognized. Seems a slight disconnect between "what they say" and "what they do". Just watch this guy move around the bag while he talks about scooping throws out of the dirt.
      He's moving naturally, not thinking about it or coaching it. Check it out.

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      • #4
        Seems to me Joe D's technique would be for a bad throw. You essentially become a behind the ball defender and still have a foot on first base. Not have to leave base entirely field ball and then find first base again. I like to teach like song, toe in dirt like a track runner on the blocks. Only stretch when needed. If do stretch, point toe down and into bag side. Like a pitcher pushing off rubber. Bad throw, field ball first at younger ages( most runners aren't that fast compared to throw ) older ages reach and make a scoop.
        Last edited by Onebigwhitevan; 03-02-2012, 10:02 AM. Reason: I needed to.....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Megunticook View Post
          I've been teaching my kids, who are both right handed, to place their right heel on top of the inside part of the bag, make a nice target with the glove, and then when the throw comes take a step toward it with the left foot. This is how Cal Ripken teaches it in his defense video (the glove and glove side foot work in tandem, the throwing side foot stays anchored with the heel on the bag).

          I'm reading DiMaggio's book right now, and in it he says the first baseman should stand with both heels against the corner of the bag nearest the fielder throwing the ball, and then use either foot to step toward the throw, depending on which side the throw is coming on (step with the left foot if the throw is left, right foot if the throw is to the right).

          How do you guys teach the footwork at first base? I'm curious now to look at some video of how the pros do it, I'm guessing there might be more than one method out there.

          I would love to find some video of a Gonzalez or Pujols breaking it down and talking about their technique.
          I teach it the way DiMaggio does.

          The biggest problem that young first basemen have is they commit and stretch too early -- they commit once they know who the throw is coming from -- and can't handle a wide throw. They should wait a bit longer and not stretch until they know where the ball is going to end up.
          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

          I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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          • #6
            I teach "the dance" at first base. It is basically not automatically committing one foot to the bag, but rather square the feet to the thrower, and then, once determining where the throw is going, choose the appropriate foot to put on the bag, and the one to "step out" towards the throw with.

            This "non-committal" technique allows for greater range by both left and right handed first basemen, by allowing them to move their feet quickly into the best location on the base, and choosing the proper one to get the fullest extension/stretch possible. This happens as they are able to shuffle their feet (dance), to the part of the bag that is closest to the location of the direction that the ball is traveling......remember, there's a 15" difference from one side of the bag to the other, that can be enough to make the throw "catchable" or not..

            By committing a particular foot on the bag before the throw, you end up seeing the "front foot hop" (especially one to the backhand side), as they try to move as quickly as possible towards the ball, but are restricted in their movement by the already "anchored" rear foot on the bag that they end up "hopping" around. You know you've all seen "the hop" at the HS level and below...... h


            Just another method, hope it helps
            mud -

            PS. First time I've seen the "halo" arch being physically described, even though it was basically what I did subconsciously during the many years I played the position......I really liked that demo/video and will be using it in addition to what we do above. Good stuff, thanks for posting that "CSB".
            In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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            • #7
              This is how I was taught.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIGQhT9l4ew

              This is how I taught my son when he was 7 thru 9. He hasn't played first for 3 years now. I do notice that our coach, who played in college as a firstbaseman that he teaches more like the other video.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Newyouthcoach View Post
                This is how I was taught.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIGQhT9l4ew

                This is how I taught my son when he was 7 thru 9. He hasn't played first for 3 years now. I do notice that our coach, who played in college as a firstbaseman that he teaches more like the other video.
                yeah this is the correct way. make contact with the bag with both heels and then slide the right foot to the corner of the bag were the ball will be and step toward the ball with the left (but not too early or you will be unable to adjust).

                A lot of kids are not doing this and just staying at the middle of the bag. you lose a lot of range like that.
                I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone, a lot of great info.

                  Found this video where Don Mattingly discusses and shows how he does it:

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                    I teach "the dance" at first base. It is basically not automatically committing one foot to the bag, but rather square the feet to the thrower, and then, once determining where the throw is going, choose the appropriate foot to put on the bag, and the one to "step out" towards the throw with.

                    This "non-committal" technique allows for greater range by both left and right handed first basemen, by allowing them to move their feet quickly into the best location on the base, and choosing the proper one to get the fullest extension/stretch possible. This happens as they are able to shuffle their feet (dance), to the part of the bag that is closest to the location of the direction that the ball is traveling......remember, there's a 15" difference from one side of the bag to the other, that can be enough to make the throw "catchable" or not..

                    By committing a particular foot on the bag before the throw, you end up seeing the "front foot hop" (especially one to the backhand side), as they try to move as quickly as possible towards the ball, but are restricted in their movement by the already "anchored" rear foot on the bag that they end up "hopping" around. You know you've all seen "the hop" at the HS level and below...... h


                    Just another method, hope it helps
                    mud -

                    PS. First time I've seen the "halo" arch being physically described, even though it was basically what I did subconsciously during the many years I played the position......I really liked that demo/video and will be using it in addition to what we do above. Good stuff, thanks for posting that "CSB".
                    I agree with Mud... I never taught committing with a particular foot when you do not know where the throw is coming from or where it will be thrown. We taught:
                    find the bag and square to the ball standing straight up showing a target with each foot on the inside corner of the bag... On the throw determine what side of the bag the throw will be then its a quick step/shuffle to the bag with the appropriate foot on the appropriate part on the bag....

                    Last I aways taught the infielders to throw straight at the first baseman's head.
                    "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.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Newyouthcoach View Post
                      This is how I was taught.



                      This is how I taught my son when he was 7 thru 9. He hasn't played first for 3 years now. I do notice that our coach, who played in college as a firstbaseman that he teaches more like the other video.
                      Originally posted by Megunticook View Post
                      Thanks everyone, a lot of great info.

                      Found this video where Don Mattingly discusses and shows how he does it:

                      Both good videos, and pretty much the footwork that I meant with the "the dance".....but I like the way Mattingly positions his foot on the bag to receive a throw right at him, better than the way the other guy is teaching it. I never liked the toe/ball of the foot on the bag, as it leaves the foot too exposed to getting inadvertently (or intentionally), kicked or hit by the runner coming down the line.

                      Now I have had my foot stepped on with Mattingly's method, and while painful, it never hurt as much as when hit on the ankle or occasionally the Achilles tendon.....and the with the foot being lower and more out the way, the frequency of contact was MUCH less.

                      BTW, James Loney (in Mattingly's video) is a stud at first base. Not as smooth and graceful as former Dodger Wes Parker, but does a nice job for his size.....and he hits a boatload better also.

                      EDIT:
                      Mud in years past, some 41 years ago.....age 11....
                      295d938.jpg
                      Last edited by mudvnine; 03-02-2012, 11:39 AM.
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                      • #12
                        then, once determining where the throw is going, choose the appropriate foot to put on the bag,
                        And the 18 inches of lost range (width of your shoulders), by using the glove foot on the bag, will cost you an out on a bang-bang play.

                        When I am showing a Dad, or a coach (ahem), how to do this, I let them do it their way and mark the max range in the dirt. Then I let them do it my way, and mark the max range. I never have to say anything else.
                        Last edited by songtitle; 03-02-2012, 11:49 AM.
                        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Megunticook View Post
                          Thanks everyone, a lot of great info.

                          Found this video where Don Mattingly discusses and shows how he does it:

                          This is how we taught it....
                          "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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                            This is how we taught it....
                            I don't like the "corners" in the second clips. Make it difficult to square to the ball.
                            "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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                              And the 18 inches of lost range (width of your shoulders), by using the glove foot on the bag, will cost you an out on a bang-bang play.
                              I understand your confusion, but in some game situations, there are times when a throw is so poor to the glove side, that I want the FBman to secure the bag with his "wrong" foot, and then do everything he can to block the ball like a catcher/goalie to keep it from getting past him, preventing the runner from advancing to 2nd base, and into scoring position......or allowing a runner on base prior to the play to score when the ball gets lose in the larger 1st base foul territory of HS and above fields.

                              If the ball happens to bounce just right and he comes up with it cleanly.....excellent, he still has a foot on the bag (even if it's the "wrong" one) to get us the out. But when I yell, "Keep it in front!!", he knows what his job #1 is.....and while I understand your "max range" thing, that's not always the top of the priority list, depending on certain game situations.

                              Hope that helps.....
                              Last edited by mudvnine; 03-02-2012, 12:28 PM.
                              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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