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  • Secondary leads at third base

    Baserunners at third are taught to take their lead in foul territory and-- if the catcher receives the ball-- return back immediately in fair territory.

    Returning back in fair territory is unrealistic unless the baserunner takes his lead virtually astride the foul line, which risks contact with a fair batted-ball.

    What we should really be teaching youngsters:

    ~R3's should lead in foul about 1-2 feet away from the line.
    ~Try to time it so your right foot lands as the pitch crosses the plate.
    ~If the catcher receives the ball, turn left* and return immediately and directly to the bag.
    ~The closer R3's are to the line while taking their lead, the more R3's will be obstructing a catcher's throwing lane on a potential back-pick when R3's return directly to the bag.

    It's a game of inches. Like a stubborn sheep dog, third base coaches should always vigilantly herd their R3's closer to the line; most importantly, when there's a LHB in the box and/or you're pushing R3's sec. leads (for whatever reason).
    ________________
    * or pick another word--pivot left?
    Last edited by skipper5; 01-10-2013, 11:39 AM.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
    Baserunners at third are taught to take their lead in foul territory and-- if the catcher receives the ball-- return back immediately in fair territory.

    This is unrealistic unless the baserunner takes his lead virtually astride the foul line, which risks contact with a fair batted-ball.

    What we should really be teaching youngsters:

    *R3's should lead in foul about 1-2 feet away from the line. If the catcher receives the ball, R3s should turn left and return directly to the bag.
    *The closer R3's are to the line while taking their lead, the more R3's will be obstructing a catcher's throwing lane on a potential back-pick when R3's return to the bag.

    It's a game of inches. Like a stubborn sheep dog, third base coaches should always vigilantly herd their R3's closer to the line; most importantly, when there's a LHB in the box and/or you're pushing R3's sec. leads (for whatever reason).
    Curious - who says they should return immediately in fair territory?
    When I coach this, I ask they take their lead in foul territory as you stated and return directly to the bag from where they are, "as the crows fly" so to speak.

    As far obstructing a catcher's throw, the catcher should be stepping behind a RHB so would be in line with foul territory anyways, so R3 is going to be in that throwing lane regardless. If I'm not mistaken, I don't think it would be obstruction if the runner is hit in the back from the catcher's throw, while going back to the bag, unless they moved purposely in front of 3B receiving the ball. Happens all the time.

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    • #3
      This is why I teach a walking lead instead of a stopped lead to secondary lead. However, I agree with the one to two feet away from the line. I teach to take a 45 degree step-over off of the bag, then straighten out. With the 45 degree step over R3 is approx one to two feet away from the line. I do teach the walking lead in foul territory and retreat in fair. A pivot on the inside foot will get you into fair territory. When I say fair territory I mean on the line or just off. I am not speaking of one to two feet in fair territory. The biggest reason that a runner retreats in fair territory is to make the 3B setup in foul territory. I was a 3B and it is a pain to get over there.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MD Diamond Sports View Post
        This is why I teach a walking lead instead of a stopped lead to secondary lead. However, I agree with the one to two feet away from the line. I teach to take a 45 degree step-over off of the bag, then straighten out. With the 45 degree step over R3 is approx one to two feet away from the line. I do teach the walking lead in foul territory and retreat in fair. A pivot on the inside foot will get you into fair territory. When I say fair territory I mean on the line or just off. I am not speaking of one to two feet in fair territory. The biggest reason that a runner retreats in fair territory is to make the 3B setup in foul territory. I was a 3B and it is a pain to get over there.
        MD,
        I believe it's physically impossible to lead one to two feet away from the line, and return (immediately) in fair territory or astride the line during the "journey".
        I'm not talking about a leisurely return, because leisurely returns are bad baseball, and are a bad habit that will bite back at the wrong time.
        Granted, if you take your secondary four feet from the line, and then return on a direct path, your final step or diveback will place you astride the line, at the end of the "journey".

        I would appreciate if someone could provide game video of an R3 leading in foul territory and returning in fair territory--"on the line or just off"--except if they're returning at a leisurely pace.
        Last edited by skipper5; 01-10-2013, 12:14 PM.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
          Curious - who says they should return immediately in fair territory?
          .
          Jbolt,
          Everybody says it...right?
          Most coaches say, down in foul, back in fair.
          And most good coaches want their R3's to get in the habit of returning immediately (if the catcher receives the ball).

          We're in total agreement they should return "as the crow flies."
          But I contend that the crow can't possibly get himself into fair territory (until he gets to the bag).
          Last edited by skipper5; 01-10-2013, 12:12 PM.
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          • #6
            This is exactly what I teach.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MD Diamond Sports View Post
              This is exactly what I teach.

              Cal emphasizes taking your lead close to the line. Good job Cal.

              But: After 50 secs., Cal and Billy illustrate looping back into fair territory on their return to third.
              That's fine if you're out for a Sunday stroll, but if there's ANY threat of a back-pick, that's a terribly unrealistic way to return to the bag.
              Why would you teach something that doesn't work when you need it the most?

              You're an R3. There's a LHB in the box, and a competent catcher with a cannon. The count is 0-2 and you're anticipating a waste pitch in the dirt, and a possible medium-length passed ball, and a low likelihood of a line drive that could double you off. So you push your sec. lead considerably more than Cal depicts in the video. The catcher catches the ball cleanly. Do you loop back into fair territory on your return, the way it's shown in the video (after 50 secs.)?

              Very seldom in 18u baseball* do we take the conservative (four steps) MLB-style mail-it-in secondary leads at third that are depicted in Cal's video.
              The exception is when the game situation dictates strongly avoiding being doubled off, etc.
              _______________
              *Not talking about showcase games. Talking about games where the priority it to win the game.
              Last edited by skipper5; 01-10-2013, 12:46 PM.
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              • #8
                Please look at 1:26.

                "Even if he is not coming up throwing. I want to make sure my timing is right, left, right then I am coming back to the base hard when it gets past the hitter" - Billy

                No coach, I hope not at least, is not going to teach 3R to sprint back to the base.
                Last edited by MD Diamond Sports; 01-10-2013, 12:28 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
                  If I'm not mistaken, I don't think it would be obstruction if the runner is hit in the back from the catcher's throw, while going back to the bag, unless they moved purposely in front of 3B receiving the ball. Happens all the time.
                  Agreed.

                  That makes a direct return desirable.

                  More chance of a miss on the throw down to third.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Well the key part is the timing of getting the right foot down at about the time the pitch is approaching the plate. Whether in a walking lead or a standard secondary lead. A lot of kids have trouble with this. Kids are often moving back towards 3rd when they could have scored on a passed ball or they are stumbling late towards home and could get picked. The right foot timing is the important part in avoiding pick offs and advancing. As for coming back in fair territory it's not that big of a deal. If the lead is close to the line then when they cross over they will be somewhat in the base line.
                    Major Figure

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                    • #11
                      Take your lead as close to the foul line as possible. Why would you not do this? As long as you are in foul territory you are fine. I teach toes as close to the foul line as possible while remaining in foul territory.

                      Once catcher has the ball cross over step back and into fair territory. Then back to the base.

                      I want to force the catcher to step behind the runner and throw in foul territory. He will never get one of my runners out. Because the 3rd baseman will have to clear all the way into foul territory and will never get a tag back in time. I want my runner to take away the only lane he can get back picked in and that is the inside lane.

                      If you teach your runners to get back in foul territory and he gets a little squirrely with his secondary my catcher will back pick him. My catchers throw through the face of the batter. In fair territory.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
                        Curious - who says they should return immediately in fair territory?
                        When I coach this, I ask they take their lead in foul territory as you stated and return directly to the bag from where they are, "as the crows fly" so to speak.

                        As far obstructing a catcher's throw, the catcher should be stepping behind a RHB so would be in line with foul territory anyways, so R3 is going to be in that throwing lane regardless. If I'm not mistaken, I don't think it would be obstruction if the runner is hit in the back from the catcher's throw, while going back to the bag, unless they moved purposely in front of 3B receiving the ball. Happens all the time.
                        We want the catcher to step behind to back pick. I don't want him to have a free lane in fair territory. Also, as long as the runner doesn't purposely raise his hands or wave his hands to obstruct the throw he can get hit without being called for interference.

                        BTW, I teach returning in fair territory.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                          Jbolt,
                          Everybody says it...right?
                          Most coaches say, down in foul, back in fair.
                          And most good coaches want their R3's to get in the habit of returning immediately (if the catcher receives the ball).

                          We're in total agreement they should return "as the crow flies."
                          But I contend that the crow can't possibly get himself into fair territory (until he gets to the bag).
                          He can if he takes his lead close to the foul line.

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                          • #14
                            Let's change the level of play. In 12u 50/70 baseball, it's normal to push leads at third. But the distances are short--the catcher is close. If you coach 12 yr.-olds to return to third by looping back the way Cal and Billy show in the video, you risk that some of your players will actually try to do it, thereby costing themselves the split seconds they need to get back safely.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
                              Agreed.

                              That makes a direct return desirable.

                              More chance of a miss on the throw down to third.
                              Haha, you deleted something from your post. I was going to get you! :applaud:

                              Originally posted by HYP View Post
                              Take your lead as close to the foul line as possible. Why would you not do this? As long as you are in foul territory you are fine. I teach toes as close to the foul line as possible while remaining in foul territory.

                              Once catcher has the ball cross over step back and into fair territory. Then back to the base.

                              I want to force the catcher to step behind the runner and throw in foul territory. He will never get one of my runners out. Because the 3rd baseman will have to clear all the way into foul territory and will never get a tag back in time. I want my runner to take away the only lane he can get back picked in and that is the inside lane.

                              If you teach your runners to get back in foul territory and he gets a little squirrely with his secondary my catcher will back pick him. My catchers throw through the face of the batter. In fair territory.
                              Absolutely. As a third baseman I understand how hard it is to get to foul territory for the reception. 3B are unable to break towards third until we know it is not being hit at us. Most of the time 3R beats 3B to the base anyway. However, we go for the ones that give us the angle by returning in foul territory. 3B can do a moving reception in fair territory for the tag.

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