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Defensive play calling

Apr 9, 2017
9
3
I’m a first-year head coach with a team moving to 12u. I’m looking for some guidance on defensive-situational play calling. For example, what are the most practical times (situations) to call a defensive adjustment? For example, bunt coverages? And how do you go through if actually making a call? (Just yell out numbers?)
 
May 16, 2016
402
28
Illinois
Not all defensive adjustment have to be done in code but they certainly can be depending on the level of your team. I coach a 10u team. Any time there is a runner on third and less than two outs I would consider that to be an ideal bunt situation. Corners play up in that situation many times.

We also have plays for first and third. More than likely at the 10u level the runner is stealing on the first pitch. We have code words that let the catcher and infield know what we want done in that situation. We also have code words for a runner on third and the batter walks to defend against pickle plays. With two outs and runner on third and the batter walks I may yell out the code word that identifies that I want to get the walked batter out if she tries to take second. This is all stuff that we practice on during practice.

There are situations in a close game where I will just call timeout and go to the mound and explain what needs to be done in that situation. For instance, if the winning run is on third and less than two outs I will call timeout and explain to the girls that we have to get the runner at the plate. Infield will play in in that situation.

Another situation that comes to mind is who is covering third base on a steal with a runner on 2nd base. Is the third baseman going to cover 3rd or the SS covering third on the steal. If the batter shows bunt with a runner on 2nd base the SS needs to know that she should be covering third on the steal since the 3rd baseman may be crashing on the bunt.
 
Jul 14, 2018
257
43
There are situations in a close game where I will just call timeout and go to the mound and explain what needs to be done in that situation.
This is really the right answer for a first-year 12U team. They've got a lot to absorb -- dropped third strikes, stealing at every base, no more run limits in most cases, pitchers who are starting to throw more than just a fastball/change combination. Expecting them to remember defensive alignments is a lot., even with wristbands. Walking out and reviewing the situation and giving direction is the best approach for both learning and executing.

DD played a 12U team this weekend where the other coach was yelling out numbers to his defense before every pitch. I'm pretty sure none of them ever moved and DD's team won 16-4, so it didn't do them a lot of good.
 
Aug 20, 2017
355
28
I teach 12U two bunt coverages with a runner at 1B, two bunt coverages with runner at 2B, and 1 bunt coverage in 1st/3rd situation. Rep it live in practice after covering it a bunch. I simply yell what bunt coverage we are in: Cover 1 to Cover 5. Important to go over who has the bag on steals in each.

Hand signals and wrist bands for 1st/3rd Situations. Use wristband for shading pull, away, in or back, slap defense
 
Mar 26, 2017
4
1
I teach 12U two bunt coverages with a runner at 1B, two bunt coverages with runner at 2B, and 1 bunt coverage in 1st/3rd situation. Rep it live in practice after covering it a bunch. I simply yell what bunt coverage we are in: Cover 1 to Cover 5. Important to go over who has the bag on steals in each.

Hand signals and wrist bands for 1st/3rd Situations. Use wristband for shading pull, away, in or back, slap defense
Cornbread, what are the defenses?


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Nov 4, 2015
175
18
Had multiple bunt coverages. Girls knew where to go, but would always get confused on fake bunts and then steals. Went to 1 bunt coverage all the time, every time. Only thing that changes is where the SS goes depending on where base runners are. Girls are confident and aggressive now. Have become very solid against the bunt. May still throw it away, but the mental mistakes are gone.
 
Feb 21, 2017
131
28
I start with KISS (keep it simple) method and realize that this is an evolving process.

For example with just a runner on first and a bunt you should learn to just take the out at first (at 12U better an out than none). We could call call this cover #1 (using previous example) or you can use arm-bands. Once you master that then have the 2B covering first throw right to SS covering 2B (you be surprised how often this works). The play evolves as the players grow so you now have what I call "reads". These have to be done by the fielder, so example, slow runner on first, good fielder or bad bunt you can go for the lead runner at second. Your job is to remind them to read the play and you can practice this once you master the basics.

For first and third with a bunt again, just take the out at first. Eventually you can add selling a fake throw to 1B and work on lead runner.

In general you as coach are working on having players recognize when adjustments need to be made, runners on base, speed of runner, score of game or what inning your in all might change how you approach it. Initially you need to call them so keep it to a set few (bunt coverage & first-and-thirds are two of the most common), The first goal is to get the basics down so you aren't turning your play into a 3 base error. In practice I suggest you throw the ball around a bunch and let them make the mistakes then.
 
Oct 13, 2017
59
8
We play 10A and only use 2 bunt coverages Runner on and empty bags. Runners on first stays home everyone moves counter clockwise, empty bags, both corners crash. Girls are pretty reliable with no play call needed. The only difference would be if the play at home is a must and we would call time at and speak with the girls. 1st and 3rd we have 4 play calls, catcher asks time and relays the sign. BB with a runner on 3rd the play call is on the SS. She calls it if she wants it. Small positioning adjustments we hand sign between pitches. Slap we yell a keyword, but we are working on the girls picking this up and communicating it amongst themselves so we do not have to. Signs are keyed in just like in an at-bat.
 
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