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Defending Aggressive Base Running

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  • #61
    I played competitive college and have lots of buddies that are coaches and when we get together we talk about "grey area" plays such as teaching things like the "knee balk" or little ways that defenders can shield or block runners without garnering the interference call, weays that P can throw pickoff throws low to IB and the big 1B can drop to a knee to field the throw (when he's really blocking the base with his leg), and things of that nature.

    These are the competitive cheats of baseball that should be taught age appropriate. If kids don't know how to do these plays or how to combat them by high school, they will lose a competitive advantage as they are done to them.

    Now here's my favorite deceptive play even though it tricked my son in 14U. This isn't cheap. It's legit. Runners on first and third. Runner on first attempts to steal second. Shortstop steps up short for the cutoff. The second baseman covering second yells "cut home" in some code that means let the ball go through. The play must have been set up ahead of time. The catcher threw low. The shortstop let the ball bounce between his legs. My son pulled up on "cut home" and the low throw. He was tagged on the bounce. He's never failed to slide since whether the throw was cut or not.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by The Flush View Post
      The team we faced yesterday in our 10U rec league was very aggressive on the base paths. Every time the ball is in play their runners are instructed to try run halfway to the next base to get in a pickle in order to advance the lead runner. This happened even with the pitcher with the ball on the rubber at least once. I know the only way to stop this tactic is to actually throw them out a few times, which we did twice, but I think it was because they got careless more than anything. We fell for it at least once as well and gave up a run. What is the best way to defend this without letting the trailing runner advance? All of the infielders are usually reliable, but we hate to risk throwing the ball around.

      Get the ball to your short stop. he walks the runner back to first and checks the runner at 3rd. You play for the out of the lead runner if he goes or gets hung up. This scenario transfers as they get older.

      The game is about making plays. You've got to throw and catch the ball.
      Last edited by soceric; 05-14-2012, 12:20 PM.

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      • #63
        It felt really good last night when faced with runners on 1st and 3rd we threw them out at both 2nd and home. It's something we could probably only do 5% of the time and took the combination of slow runners and perfect throws and catches. It made our boys feel good about themselves and probably reduced the other team's agressiveness for the rest of the game. I still cringed when the catcher jumped up to make the throw to 2nd though. It's fun to watch 8-10 year olds make good baseball plays.
        Last edited by The Flush; 05-22-2012, 09:29 AM.
        WAR EAGLE!

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        • #64
          The best way to stop agressive baserunning is to have a good catcher. Simple as that...

          I usually fight bush league ball with bush league ball. After that, the other team generally gets the message.

          We successfully used a ‘sort of’ trick play in the tournaments a few years ago by faking a passed ball.
          My son is the catcher for his U14 baseball team.
          I’ve told him in the past that if there is an AGGRESIVE runner on third he should try suckering the runner to commit to advancing home on a perceived wild pitch.
          For it to work, there are some things that have to go your way.
          You need a right handed hitter at the plate.
          You need a pitch that is down and away that your catcher has to backhand. We never told our pitchers to try pitching low and away. In fact, the kid pitching didn’t know what was going on when my son faked the passed ball.
          And most importantly you need an AGGRESSIVE runner at third.

          What has to happen is, on a throw down and away, the catcher backhands the ball.
          With ball actually in the catcher’s mitt, the catcher runs directly away from the 3rd base line towards the backstop, (about four steps) as if he is chasing a ball that got away. If the runner is aggressive, as is usually the case, he’s hung out to dry once he realizes what has happened and tries to retreat back to third base. In this scenario, the kid was about half way down the line.

          After this happened, they never stole another base. Never even tried.
          Just a baseball layman trying to make sense of it all...

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          • #65
            Originally posted by trademark View Post
            The best way to stop agressive baserunning is to have a good catcher. Simple as that...

            I usually fight bush league ball with bush league ball. After that, the other team generally gets the message.

            We successfully used a ‘sort of’ trick play in the tournaments a few years ago by faking a passed ball.
            My son is the catcher for his U14 baseball team.
            I’ve told him in the past that if there is an AGGRESIVE runner on third he should try suckering the runner to commit to advancing home on a perceived wild pitch.
            For it to work, there are some things that have to go your way.
            You need a right handed hitter at the plate.
            You need a pitch that is down and away that your catcher has to backhand. We never told our pitchers to try pitching low and away. In fact, the kid pitching didn’t know what was going on when my son faked the passed ball.
            And most importantly you need an AGGRESSIVE runner at third.

            What has to happen is, on a throw down and away, the catcher backhands the ball.
            With ball actually in the catcher’s mitt, the catcher runs directly away from the 3rd base line towards the backstop, (about four steps) as if he is chasing a ball that got away. If the runner is aggressive, as is usually the case, he’s hung out to dry once he realizes what has happened and tries to retreat back to third base. In this scenario, the kid was about half way down the line.

            After this happened, they never stole another base. Never even tried.
            The options at 14U are a lot different the the original poster's options at 10U. The skill set is significantly different. Excessive base running at 14U will only generate outs.

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            • #66
              Good point tg643...! I admit I over-looked that. :o At U10, you're not going to pull that kind of trick play.
              However, I'd still point out that the best defence against this kind of behavior is a GOOD catcher. Agressive baserunning slows to a trickle with a nice throw to second from your catcher. In the years that I've coached U10 thru now U14, having a good catcher is more importaint than havng good pitching becasue other teams aren't as likely to 'steal' runs. Work with your catcher(s). Get them better at blocking some of the wild pitches. Begin teaching them the proper technique/footwork of throwing down to 2nd. If you've got a catcher that handles his/her self well for their age and plays solid behind the plate, the daddy base coaches aren't going to give the steal sign so often.
              Just a baseball layman trying to make sense of it all...

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              • #67
                Originally posted by The Flush View Post
                The team we faced yesterday in our 10U rec league was very aggressive on the base paths. Every time the ball is in play their runners are instructed to try run halfway to the next base to get in a pickle in order to advance the lead runner. This happened even with the pitcher with the ball on the rubber at least once. I know the only way to stop this tactic is to actually throw them out a few times, which we did twice, but I think it was because they got careless more than anything. We fell for it at least once as well and gave up a run. What is the best way to defend this without letting the trailing runner advance? All of the infielders are usually reliable, but we hate to risk throwing the ball around.
                This is very bush league. I've seen it allot at lower ages. Typically 9 and 10 U. Some people will do anything to win.


                You have more options.....

                1. Back door pick at first base with runners at first and third
                2. 3-1 pick move, with fake pick moves

                Score dependent................... trade an out for a run and execute a pickle between 1 and 2

                OR, my favorite is to have the catcher throw to the second baseman who is cheating way in at double play depth while simultaneously having pitcher without the ball charging to runner at third base. pitcher is now in position to back up a pickle at home.

                Second baseman decides based on base-runner position who to get out. The runner advancing to home, or the runner who is typically caught in no-mans land between first and second.

                Ideally. here is the play.


                Runners at first and third with two outs

                1. Pitcher delivers a fast ball for a ball outside
                2 Base runner at first gets a late jump because you threw over to first to keep him honest (at least once)
                3. Catcher thorws to the second baseman
                4. Second baseman receives the ball on the edge of the dirt, pump fakes the runner stealing and sends him back
                5. Nails the guy out at home plate without the need for a pickle

                Plan B. Execute the pickle and record an out somewhere

                Option: Code words, colors, or numbers to call the hot play
                Option B: one word for SS and one word for 2B to receive the throw.

                I typically use a number sequence to call the play 3-2-1 Use a hot word to take away the second baseman off the play and insert the SS. For example 3-3-4 Tiger. MIght mean thrid inning, bogus number, runner going home, Tiger-Tiger (for the SS to receive)

                First number: inning
                Second number: player being thrown to or base runner at
                Third number: where I want the out

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                • #68
                  We played a team that did this sort of thing. These guys ran over everyone because they could "run the bases aggressively." They didn't run them smartly, they just pressured the defense into throwing the ball around.

                  It stops when you embarass them

                  Once you demonstrate that you can get outs by either trading runs for outs, or shutting down the runner going from third to home it spooks them.

                  You MUST stop the lead runner.

                  Even if you give up that base at second with a runner going from first to second, you must slow the game down for it slows the offense down.

                  Here is what I did. Also see above post. Works great in 12U ball

                  For 9 -11U ball concede the base at second (for now)

                  Execute soft pick moves to third, not really trying to pick the runner, or over throw third!!! Keep the bum very honest. Do it 5 to 8 times.

                  then, have second baseman sneak over, who was playing way off, and execute an inside pick move to second base and record the out. second baseman must be quick in applying the tag and popping up with the ball. Good chance at a double play here if runner goes home. He will be initially frozen.

                  No rule on when you have to throw home to the batter. put the bum to sleep by messing with the lead runner.

                  Let the other team know, that if they want to go "sherman" on the bases you will go all head slow, like you are navigating an ice field in a canoe. They can't score runs when you aren't helping them play their game their way.

                  play the game your way, and don't let these guys run all over your kids.

                  Make them respect the game.

                  Be prepared to lose a few games while learning this stuff, especially pickle plays. Establish inside dominance on the base paths and force their runners outside for clear throwing lanes.

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                  • #69
                    My all time-favorite at shutting down the bush leage bums as I call them.

                    This kills the opposing coach and he gets really mad.

                    Each time the pitcher throws home to the catcher, the catcher shall ask for time and ask for a new ball on every pitch. The game is not re-started until the home plate umpire signals "play." When he does this, the runner at third is sitting on third base licking an ice cream cone because you have just frozen their stealing home game.

                    I love-love-love this. Makes coach grumpey very un happy.

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                    • #70
                      Runners on second and third. Runner on second takes lead about halfway to third. (I'm thinking that the coach teaches this in order to try to draw a throw or at least distract the pitcher in hopes of scoring the runner from third). Pitcher comes set. If he steps off the rubber, can he throw directly to the SS (and not to the base)? I'm assuming that it would be a balk if the pitcher just does it as a pickoff attempt. So that is why he would need to step off, right?

                      Depending on game situation, I think I would be willing to give up the run and throw out the runner with the huge lead.
                      Last edited by johnlanza; 05-29-2012, 08:45 AM.

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                      • #71
                        My son made the all-star team and one of the coaches of the aggressive running team is the 3rd base coach for the all-star team. So he is teaching the all-star team these aggressive (bush league IMHO) tactics. We played a scrimmage game today against a very over matched team and used these tactics to score almost at will. It was embarrassing to me. I doubt I will say anything about it, but I will teach my son that it is not useful tactic beyond the league he is on now.
                        WAR EAGLE!

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by The Flush View Post
                          My son made the all-star team and one of the coaches of the aggressive running team is the 3rd base coach for the all-star team. So he is teaching the all-star team these aggressive (bush league IMHO) tactics. We played a scrimmage game today against a very over matched team and used these tactics to score almost at will. It was embarrassing to me. I doubt I will say anything about it, but I will teach my son that it is not useful tactic beyond the league he is on now.
                          A well coached all-star team will pick off some off your runners. In all-stars we taught the kids to be very agressive. But it wasn't anything crazy. He had them taking large, aggressive turns at the bases to get fielders to take their eyes off the ball. Until the district semis it worked. The last couple of games against better competition the runners had to take smaller turns.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                            A well coached all-star team will pick off some off your runners. In all-stars we taught the kids to be very agressive. But it wasn't anything crazy. He had them taking large, aggressive turns at the bases to get fielders to take their eyes off the ball. Until the district semis it worked. The last couple of games against better competition the runners had to take smaller turns.
                            I hope we scrimmage someone better than us before we start tournament play so that we can get that figured out right away. I am still convinced that the only reason this exists in our league is because some other all-star team did it to our all-star team last year (which my son was not on) and it was imported back to the rec league.
                            WAR EAGLE!

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by The Flush View Post
                              I hope we scrimmage someone better than us before we start tournament play so that we can get that figured out right away. I am still convinced that the only reason this exists in our league is because some other all-star team did it to our all-star team last year (which my son was not on) and it was imported back to the rec league.
                              In our rec league, it's almost always the little brother of an older player that "introduces" it to the other players ... things like taking home from 3rd on a throw back to the pitcher, and things of that nature. We, literally, have a player on our team that is so fast that he can essentially get in a pickle anytime he wants to and get out of without making an out. He often tries just that until we threaten to have him sit by his parents. If he wanted to, he could single-handedly disrupt a game to the point where it's not fun for anyone else.

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