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Thread: Teaching aggressive base running

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    Checking out the clubhouse Jorgy73's Avatar
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    Default Teaching aggressive base running

    Anyone have a coupe of good drills to teach players how to be aggressive on the bases? I coach a 10u team, and our girls are tentative on the bases while many opponents are running at any opportunity. Thanks!

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    Softball Junkie Dabears17's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head, any sort of base running race. We do a relay race where half the team starts at 2nd and the other half starts at home.

    Get them in the mentality of keep running to they see a 'stop' signal.

    Play a game I call 'Arizona'. Divide girls into groups of 2. Put Tee by home. 'Defense' starts with one girl standing on 1st, other on 3rd. Other team hits off Tee and gets one point for each base they touch before both members of the defense touch the ball.

    From a Caitlin Lowe video, have runners start on first during batting practice practicing leads and reading the ball hit off the bat. If its in the air, practice taking as big a lead as they can and still get back on a flyball to the outfield.

    Any sort of pickle drill.

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    Certified softball maniac RichK's Avatar
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    10U is a GREAT time to get aggressive with baserunning because the defense is not buttoned-up and so there are tons of simple catching and throwing errors you can take advantage of. I think the best "drill" then is to make it a game to try to take every extra base possible during game-play -- super-aggressive turns, stay out on the turn when throws are made and run on all bad throws, bounces and mis-catches and even try to draw throws behind them to draw errors (or to go to the next base on throws behind them). Who cares if they are out? If they get caught in a run-down a) it's fun and b) the runner will probably beat the defense at 10U a good % of the time. Just teach them to always be going after the next base.

    This is more a mentality than a drill-skill and will even feel a little 'mean' to younger kids -- you'll have to teach that it's just being competitive and that you can be a good sport and still be an animal on the bases

    That said, you can drill things like how to take a turn, how to stay out on a turn, how to go from first to third and second to home by picking up base coaches and not slowing down, etc. etc.

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    Certified softball maniac CoachKevin's Avatar
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    I used to have a coach at 1st, and a coach at 3rd. Girls would hit the ball off the Tee and listen to the 1B Coach (run straight through, take a turn, etc) Sometimes he would send them to 2B just randomly. I would do the same thing at 3B and also send them Home then suddenly yell Back, Back, Back (they had to stop and return back to 3B with a dive)

    I have learned throughout the years that coaching the bases I never use the word NO... it's either GO or BACK.

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    Work infield with live base runners and coaches at 1 and 3. Teach them to look at the coaches and that MISTAKES ARE OKAY! it’s practice. Work it over and over and over.
    Do not argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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    Checking out the clubhouse Fort83's Avatar
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    What I see with DD's second year 10u team is the girls are afraid to get out. I see that in other teams that we play as well. I have talked to DD's coach myself about her being more aggressive on the bases and got the green light. We talk about it and work on things all the time. DD is the best base runner on the team and picks up extra bases every time she is on.

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    I'm a fan Coach Foster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichK View Post

    This is more a mentality than a drill-skill and will even feel a little 'mean' to younger kids -- you'll have to teach that it's just being competitive and that you can be a good sport and still be an animal on the bases

    .
    This! Aggressive base running is an attitude more than anything. Sure there is skill to reading a ball and a throw, but you have to have an aggressive mindset. I love being super aggressive. I tell my girls to think 3 out of the box, I don't care if it's a ground ball through the 5/6, they're thinking 3. Are they ever going 3 on that....nope, but I want the defense thinking they might.

    We also have what we call "green light girls". They always have the green light on the bases. If they get a good jump and think they've timed the release up, go for it.

    Coaches also have to be ok with girls getting thrown out, every now and then. You can't say "we want to be aggressive" then get mad when girls get thrown out being aggressive.

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    Checking out the clubhouse Fort83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach Foster View Post
    Coaches also have to be ok with girls getting thrown out, every now and then. You can't say "we want to be aggressive" then get mad when girls get thrown out being aggressive.
    This is the biggest thing right here!

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    Certified softball maniac CoachKevin's Avatar
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    Heck as a Coach, if I don't get at least 2 girls thrown out trying to stretch another base per year, I'm not doing my job

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    I would replace aggressive with smart. Players need to know the situation just like the defense. If you are on base you need to anticipate what you are going to do in certain situations. Keep an eye on where the OF's are playing. If you see them know which ones have good arms,etc. When you are down 3 runs in the last inning your decision to risk an out changes from the first inning. Pay attention to the defense. The best runners are the ones who notice no one is covering a base.

    Teach them how to draw a throw even if you aren't going. If you are on 3rd on a shallow popup, at least fake tagging. You might get a bad throw.

    As others have stated, you can't get mad if they make a mistake. I'll take a kid who read a double in the gap and is trying to score from 1st but the LF makes a diving catch. I would rather see a DP once in awhile than have 1st and 2nd because she went "half way" or "froze" on a popup which a lot of coaches teach.

    All of that aside if I could hammer only 1 thing into them it would be to decide and act. If you are on 3rd and there is a WP either go or stay but once you decide go hard.

    To the OP you will learn as you age up that what's aggressive at 10U might be reckless at 14U. The good runners adjust.

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