Baseball & Softball Secret That Yields 1-2 Extra Runs Per Game!
Remembering back when I coached tee ball, I can’t tell you how many times things went array and as parents, you just have to stand there laughing, not at the kids but at the situation. In many instances baserunning would be challenging for the coaches and the parents in the field directing which way the t-ball baserunners should run. Some players would hit the ball off the batting tee and automatically begin to run to third base instead of first base until being redirected. Fast forward 6 or 7 years and we still see many baserunning mistakes that are totally unnecessary. I remember when one of my players was rounding third base. He was one of my fastest baserunners and he never slowed up and in fact was going so fast that he went around me behind the 3rd base coaching box. Inevitably he was thrown out easily at home plate. I can’t tell you how many times I see teams either run themselves out of a rally or game. And on the flip side I see teams exploit their baserunning situation in a positive manner and win a close game.
When I first got involved in youth baseball, I was an assistant coach in the third base dugout. The opposing team had a runner on second base with no one out. At the time I was new and tried to listen to the coaching on both sides and absorb everything I could. I remember hearing the third base coach yelling to his baserunner on second base:
“Johnny, there are no outs, on a ground ball hit to the right side, take off. If it is hit to the left side, bounce of the base and start to run when the fielder releases the ball and listen to me.”
I remember thinking that this was excellent coaching. But I also thought immediately that this is something youth teams should practice and not just be told how to do it. So when I became manager I devised a drill we called the “Bounce Drill.” This drill we would do almost every practice for five or ten minutes and I can say over the course of my 25 years of coaching, if there was ever one baserunning drill where I saw a “return on our investment,” the bounce drill was it. If I ever authored a “Ten Commandments” of coaching youth baseball, one of them would read:
“Coaches must practice baserunning 5-10 minutes at every practice.”
As I described the previous example, one of the biggest mistakes youth coaches make when it comes to baserunning is that when the player reaches base, the coach will advise him what to do if the ball is hit to a certain area. And this is the first time that the player hears these instructions and has to absorb what to do. Whether it is practicing coaching signs or going from first to third on a hit, coaches must spend time in practice going over baserunning. I have said and still maintain that if coaches would practice baserunning in their practices 5-10 minutes at each practice, they can score 1-2 extra runs each game in youth baseball.
I’m going to say something that I have no scientific proof of but I’ve seen it with my own teams. If you are a coach and practice and put baserunning drills in each practice, there is a residual affect and this is it. Even the youngest players seem to pay attention closer when on base during a game then if you didn’t practice baserunning. Again, I have no proof but I have seen it with my own teams.
So if you coach at any level, don’t make the mistake of not practicing baserunning. You will see fabulous results if you do practice. And just remember that if you are not practicing baserunnig, other coaches are!
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