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Base running instincts

Apr 20, 2018
1,761
113
SoCal
Can/should base running instincts be taught? I will give one example I have seen many times. Line drive basehit over ss head. LFer has to move left to field ball in play. Base runner slows down her pace in order to time the LFer's fielding attempt in order to keep her momentum go towards 2nd base and pounces on any bobble or misplayed ball and takes 2nd. Same play can happen with base runner going from 1st to 3rd. This is in contrast to the runner taught to "go hard" and rounds base aggressively and comes to a complete stop and in frozen on the fielders bobble and either retreats to the bag or worse, gets thrown out trying to advance.
Does anybody teach/ coach runners to keep momentum (maybe even slow pace) to time a fielders possible misplay?
These types of base runners are also very good at the dreaded delay steal. They are hunters of the next base.
 
Jan 28, 2017
959
43
Coaching baseball twenty years ago and coaching LB's in football for 30 years if they do not flinch at the correct moment they can never be elite as far as instincts. For example, you may have a kid that is slow as turtle dust but he flinches at the correct time but doesn't trust himself enough to go. He can be taught to go but must understand his speed. You may have a kid that can fly but he doesn't flinch at the correct time. This kid will always look bad at times because he will be late moving. DD has a kid that plays SS on her team and isn't a very good athlete but she moves before the ball gets anywhere near the plate and is unreal. That can't be taught. You can do things to help them- like this kid is a pull hitter, the pitch, this kid always goes oppo after pulling one, knowing the situation before hand, and so on.
 
Jan 13, 2020
984
63
Base runners need to know where the outfielders are positioned before every pitch (yeah kids, you got to look a them :))

If you don't get thrown out once in a while, shucks
 
Aug 1, 2019
130
43
Can/should base running instincts be taught? I will give one example I have seen many times. Line drive basehit over ss head. LFer has to move left to field ball in play. Base runner slows down her pace in order to time the LFer's fielding attempt in order to keep her momentum go towards 2nd base and pounces on any bobble or misplayed ball and takes 2nd. Same play can happen with base runner going from 1st to 3rd. This is in contrast to the runner taught to "go hard" and rounds base aggressively and comes to a complete stop and in frozen on the fielders bobble and either retreats to the bag or worse, gets thrown out trying to advance.
Does anybody teach/ coach runners to keep momentum (maybe even slow pace) to time a fielders possible misplay?
These types of base runners are also very good at the dreaded delay steal. They are hunters of the next base.
I think the "instincts" are developed through experience. Some kids are better at learning from experiences than others. One kid may take an extra base, start cheering with teammates, and worry about the dirt that got in the pants. Another kid will take the extra base, think about how the situation worked out, and tuck that into the memory banks to use another time.

As for your example, I'd rather have the runner take as much real estate as quickly as possible; they will be the furthest distance along IF a bobble happens and not be caught leaning the wrong way WHEN the fielder grabs it cleanly and fires back to first. That being said, I also like my speedsters to round first way too far and read the left fielders eyes. If they get really big they're going to launch it back to first, giving the opportunity to take second.

"Hunters of the next base" I like that! I'm going to steal that phrase (no pun intended) and use it with our summer teams.
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
900
63
Baserunning skills and "knowledge" can certainly be learned, but "instincts" are largely brought to the table. It's like hand-eye coordination in batting...some are just more gifted than others.

I've seen average runners be very successful because of good decision-making, and quicker runners be successful in SPITE of their decision-making. The difference being that the quicker runner can often compensate for mistakes (late starts, overruns, getting into a run-down), because they are so athletically gifted. I've also seen athletically gifted runners be train wrecks on the bases because they panic or second-guess themselves. DD has a couple of team mates who are athletically gifted, make good decisions, AND run very aggressively. They are extremely hard to put out regardless of how good the defense is. Some of that was taught, but much of it is just them being themselves.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
1,443
113
California
Instincts are learned by being given the opportunity to participate on our own.

Some coaches run the game by trying to make every decision for players.
imo, Can hinder growing/learning reaction=instinct.
Base running some say 'always' look at the coach.
imo, is unrealistic for that to 'always' be applied.
Example on stealing.
Lead off with a wild pitch or reacting to catchers mechanics on dirt pitches.
To steal. Thats a developed reaction= instinct.

While there are times coaches direct runners on bases,
For Stealing instinct~Agree with allowing players to read the ball and know where the defensive players are.
includes recognizing the catchers mechanics/skillsets.
Prefer players to learn and know their own skills to heighten the level of play on the field.
And~ (depending on situation in the game)
will allow runner to make their own decision to steal.
*(this reaction=instinct is also utilized on hits)
As for coaches directing runners on hits,
Generally thats for when the ball is hit behind the runner.
And/Or utilizing the runner to create pressure on the defense by directing the runner to continue running.
Generally~
Eyes on ball when its pitched.
Eyes on ball when its initially hit.
Eyes on coach approaching next bag.

It is equally important for coaches to make base running decisions (directing runners)
'befor' runners reach oncomming base.
 
Last edited:
Jul 29, 2013
3,217
113
Instincts are learned by being given the opportunity to participate on our own.

Some coaches run the game by trying to make every decision for players.
imo, Can hinder growing/learning reaction=instinct.
Base running some say 'always' look at the coach.
imo, is unrealistic for that to 'always' be applied.
Example on stealing.
Lead off with a wild pitch or reacting to catchers mechanics on dirt pitches.
To steal. Thats a developed reaction= instinct.

While there are times coaches direct runners on bases,
For Stealing instinct~Agree with allowing players to read the ball and know where the defensive players are.
includes recognizing the catchers mechanics/skillsets.
Prefer players to learn and know their own skills to heighten the level of play on the field.
And~ (depending on situation in the game)
will allow runner to make their own decision to steal.
*(this reaction=instinct is also utilized on hits)
As for coaches directing runners on hits,
Generally thats for when the ball is hit behind the runner.
And/Or utilizing the runner to create pressure on the defense by directing the runner to continue running.
Generally~
Eyes on ball when its pitched.
Eyes on ball when its initially hit.
Eyes on coach approaching next bag.

It is equally important for coaches to make base running decisions (directing runners)
'befor' runners reach oncomming base.
Excellent post! I do believe instincts can be taught, and a lot of that knowledge comes from mistakes made and a kid who wants to learn and study the game! But some runners just naturally have more than others. I LOVE the kid who knows their only job is to score when they get on base, and I love even more the kid who just flat out disrupts every aspect of the defense!
 
Jan 13, 2020
984
63
Can/should base running instincts be taught? I will give one example I have seen many times. Line drive basehit over ss head. LFer has to move left to field ball in play. Base runner slows down her pace in order to time the LFer's fielding attempt in order to keep her momentum go towards 2nd base and pounces on any bobble or misplayed ball and takes 2nd. Same play can happen with base runner going from 1st to 3rd. This is in contrast to the runner taught to "go hard" and rounds base aggressively and comes to a complete stop and in frozen on the fielders bobble and either retreats to the bag or worse, gets thrown out trying to advance.
Does anybody teach/ coach runners to keep momentum (maybe even slow pace) to time a fielders possible misplay?
These types of base runners are also very good at the dreaded delay steal. They are hunters of the next base.
Here is a format one squad uses. Beneficial for players and coaches.

 
Jun 11, 2013
2,141
63
I think good base running can be taught but great ones have some sort of ability to read the play better. To me the fear they need to overcome is the fear of getting out. The best base runners get thrown out on great plays once in awhile. To me the 2 scenarios that are read wrong are on fly balls (both bloopers and deep balls) and scoring from 3rd an a WP.

The first one I blame coaching at a young age for teaching them to freeze on a popup. So many times a ball is clearly going to drop or clearly over the OF's heads and you see the runners just freeze. It takes a long time to undo that mentality.

The second just takes some practice to figure out what to do but again it's the ability to see where the ball is going. Unless the C blocks it right in front of the plate a fast runner can score most of the time.
 

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