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1st Step When Stealing

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  • 1st Step When Stealing

    I'll admit to knowing how to teach kids how to take a lead off a base, run the bases, and look for pickoffs. What I don't know how to do is teach a good first step when stealing. My son is 13 and just moved to 80' basepaths. Stealing's always been part of is game and not much has changed this year other than the catchers are better and the distance between bases has made the plays closer (still hasn't gotten caught this year and it's not for lack of trying on his or their part).

    He's on the shorter side, though, so doesn't tend to get a large enough lead. That I can work with, but I want to be sure he's getting to full speed as quickly as possible (he's one of, if not the, fastest kids on his team every year and also has great/aggressive baserunning skills). Does anyone know of a technique/drill to help this happen? I realize Ricky Henderson would be a good place to start but, frankly, he could do things that mere mortals can't do so I'm not sure how applicable he would be.

  • #2
    We use a drill with a racquetball. I stand about 15 ft or so away while he takes his sideway lead. I hold the ball shoulder heighth and when I move my hand up it simulates the pitcher starting his pitch and my son takes off like he's stealing. I then bounce the ball off the ground and he has to try and catch it before it hits the ground. I feel this helps his reaction time and quickness.
    Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.
    (Babe Ruth)


    • #3
      The first steps I teach are:
      1) Pivot with right foot
      2) Push with left foot.

      In more detail; I explain that the right foot needs to get into a running position as quickly as possible without moving backwards. You don't want to have your feet too wide apart that your body has to come in to push off. So make sure your feet are comfortable to move forward right where they start.

      Similar to a Wide Receiver - when they set up on the line, ready to run, they should position their feet so that they do not have to step back and push off.


      • #4
        Good base runners learn the basic cues on when the pitcher has to make his move towards the plate. When they become more skilled they study specific pitchers for their mannerisms. I've seen good baserunners get huge jumps where all the pitcher had to do was step off the rubber and run at them. But the runners knew the pitcher wouldn't do it. These runners learned certain pitchers don't pay enough attention to runners. From a balance and acceleration standpoint what's in vogue now is punching towards second with the left hand.


        • #5
          Dial up "Coach Mazey" on youtube. He has a bunch of baserunning/stealing short vid's on the site. I am in agreement with what he says a players stance should be once they take their primary. Good stuff. Easier to direct you to that then explain/type it here.


          • #6
            Had a college track coach working with our team on this exact subject. He said to pivot with right foot (stay low and pull with that same right foot. He said this was the way to produce the highest degree of acceleration.



            • #7
              Make sure that right foot is already open some (45%) kind of like a left handed hitters stance. Another tip is to take a relatively short lead. At 13, a big lead is not necessary as a runner is way more likely to get picked off by the pitcher than he is of getting thrown out at second base.

              There are lots of little keys that are important but you shouldn't give a kid too much at once. One simple one is to make sure the lead is in the base line (off of the back corner of the base but don't overdo). Kids will often take a circuitous route to 2b either too far inside the line or out side or even both. So check that part. After that, a kid needs to practice his jumps-and getting back to 1st- regularly each practice and on his own with a pitcher simulating a move to the plate or a pickoff. That's plenty for now.
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