Feature Story - PowerChalk
Volume 6, No. 5 - June 2011
Heading for Home: The Lost Art of Base Running
The team that scores the most runs wins, right? Right. Well interestingly enough, when we think about scoring runs, we seem to think of getting a base hit; a double, triple or even a homerun. Maybe we think about getting on base, but even if we draw a walk or get on due to an error, we seem to shift our attention to the next hitter. But, what about the base runner?
Base running has been a lost art for some time. And by the way, I am talking about base running not base stealing. Being a good base runner does not require foot speed, just judgment and technique. All of which can be taught, practiced and perfected. Good base running puts pressure on the opposing team, and take pressure off you own. Going 0-for-3 seems to feel a little better when you walk leading off the bottom of the 7th inning and score the winning run.
So, there are a couple of ways to work on improving base running technique. Very simply, begin and end practice by running the bases. Home to first, running through the bag, with a slight peek after crossing the bag to read a potential errant throw. First to third base, with a ball in the right field corner so the runner understands to see the third-base coach. Third to home on a base hit, or going back and tag up on a fly ball. Home to second, with the coach stopping them from the third base coaches' box after rounding second. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, second to home, scoring on a base hit. It's a good way to get loose, condition your players and get them familiar with running the bases.
As a follow up to this, when you are taking batting practice, put players on the bases and give them situations to react to. Strange as it may seem, everyone in the dugout and bleachers knows what a base hit looks like, but what about the runner on second? He has a completely different angle, and too often gets doubled off on a line drive because he couldn't "read" the ball going through. If we don't train base runners to know what it looks like, how can we expect him to react properly in the game? Imagine losing a game by one run on a bang-bang play at the plate, and the difference was that the runner on second got a bad jump.
Finally, another way to work on and improve your base running is to use the ChalkTalk Telestrator® located at www.LittleLeagueconnect.org. You can load videos to demonstrate proper technique or interactive diagrams to help players better understand when to go, when not to go and how good base running is indeed an art form.
To find more about about how PowerChalk can benefit you and your team, visit us at www.LittleLeagueconnect.org.