Summer Instruction Series: Stealing & Defense

Special To Collegiate Baseball

PORTLAND, Ore. — This is a multiple drill that combines the teaching of both base stealing techniques and defensive skills to be used against those attempting to steal.

• Protective Screens.

• Place protective screen behind second base to protect runners from errant throws from the catcher.

• Place protective screen behind first base to protect runners from errant pick off throws from the pitcher.

• Throw down bases.

• Stopwatch.

Pitchers will practice throwing from the “set position,” holding runners at first base and quick delivery to home plate.

• Place a pitcher on the mound.

• Works from set position.

• Pitcher tries to pick runner off first base.

• Works on quickness to home plate.

• Works on varying time between pitches to home to keep runner guessing.

• Quickness to home plate should be timed from start of pitcher’s first movement until ball hits catcher’s glove.

1.6 seconds = Poor

1.4 seconds = Good

1.3 seconds = Excellent

Catcher will practice proper shifting and proper footwork to improve quickness and release time on throws to second base as well as accuracy of throws to second.

• Behind home plate and in full gear.

• Receives pitches and throws to second base.

• Coach will use a stopwatch to time catcher’s throw to second.

• Stop the stopwatch the instant the ball is caught at second base.

• Ideal time is 2.0 seconds or less.

First Baseman will practice correct position and stance for holding runner at first and how to apply the tag correctly.

• Assumes correct position at first base to hold runner on.

• Receives pick-off throws from pitcher and applies tag.

Middle Infielders will practice covering second base correctly, receiving catcher’s throw, applying the tag correctly and “cheating” toward second base to be there in time to receive the catcher’s throw.

• Place shortstop and second baseman in their positions.

• Shortstop and second baseman alternate covering second base and backing up the throw.

• Middle infielders learn how far to “cheat” (play closer to second base) to be at second base in time to receive catcher’s throw.

• Middle infielders receive catcher’s throw and apply tag.

Base Runners will practice how to lead off first base correctly, return to first base correctly after a pick-off attempt, read the pitcher’s moves, make the correct initial step when “breaking” for second base and how to “look-in” when attempting to steal as ball enters impact zone.

• No runner on first base…for reasons of safety.

• Players line up behind first base along the right field foul line.

• Use throw down bases.

• Space bases about four feet apart.

• Three or flour players practice “breaks and leads” at one time.

• Runners break for second base as pitcher delivers to home.

• Runners do not slide, but run behind protective screen at second base.

• Runners should be timed.

3.4 seconds — Very Fast

3.4 to 3.6 seconds — Alert to Steal

3.6 to 3.8 seconds — Questionable

3.8 to 4.0 seconds — Hit and Run

4.0 seconds — Forget Stealing

Jack Dunn is the former head baseball coach at Portland State University. He has written many articles over the years for Collegiate Baseball. His articles focus on actual drills that can be used by coaches and players to improve specific skills. To subscribe to Collegiate Baseball, CLICK HERE.