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Stealing

Apr 20, 2018
1,761
113
SoCal
How do you coach stealing? Do you like the the dominant leg back behind the bag? (getting a running start) or neither leg behind the bag? What is the cue for the runner to go? Pitchers arm at 12 noon? How low do you like the runner to be? I have seen base runners that get down into a sprinter's stance with hand on the ground. I like it but my DD says it looks stupid. I find most runners leave late. Then there are the coaches that take advantage of only having one ump and have their runners leave early. Is that good coaching? Do you have runners find the ball (peek in) to avoid getting doubled up? Do you fake bunt pull back to give runner a better chance and also eliminate the double play?
 
Dec 11, 2010
2,756
113
First of all I want to give you a hat tip for wanting to coach base running. It is the least coached thing in softball and it is valuable.

I have seen much better base running mechanics than I know how to teach, I’m hoping someone will chime in.

I’ll add to your list: burst off bag vs roll and read. (A better way to say that probably exists.) I’m leaning toward roll and read even at first base. I have not experimented with it enough yet.

I also think people undervalue a good first base coach. I really like coaching that side of the field.
 
Aug 1, 2019
130
43
As a coach, I looked for cues to best anticipate when to send a runner. Type of pitcher, what's she throwing? Lots of change-ups? Dirt balls? Air-mail? Pitch count/ when's the off-speed coming? Catcher's arm strength, reliable hand squeeze. Batter's strength/tendencies, who's on deck/in the hole, etc.

I expected my players to be aggressive and worked with them to be opportunistic. Reading pitch angles, reading bunt coverage to get to third, reading the fielders covering the bag ahead. Looking for lazy pitchers/catchers for a delayed steal. Finding the ball and being ready to take that extra base. I believe they got more bases by taking advantage of situations than worrying about a sprinter's start vs. a rocking start.

Oh yeah, I never got down on anyone for making an aggressive base running mistake.
 
May 20, 2016
303
43
I've always been one foot behind the bag. When the arm circle reaches 12 you start driving the back foot forward so next step is full running as the ball is leaving the hand.

My DD is a pitcher so she will usually mimic the pitchers arm circle so she comes off the bag as soon as ball is released. She rarely gets put out. Can remember 1 time in the last two years.
 
Sep 21, 2017
167
28
PA
We do reads/jumps almost daily at practice in the Spring. I’ll split into two groups (infielders/outfielders) with one doing catch play and the other base running. We typically teach five reads.
As far as technique, a couple years ago, Wasserman put out a Softball Base Stealing Manual, with research he did with a few college athletes and coaches. Basically, his key points were:

1. Techniques starting with the right foot forward are slower than those with the right foot behind the base.

2. Some form of counter movement prior to push off are faster than static starts.
 
Jan 31, 2014
273
18
North Carolina
I prefer the "rocker" start. Runner at first: Left foot on the back side of the bag from home, and on edge of the bag facing second. Think of starter blocks for a sprinter. Right foot behind the bag. As pitcher starts windup, runner "rocks" back, shifting weight to right foot, then explodes toward second as pitcher's drive foot heel (right foot for a rightie) lifts from the ground. Three hard sprint steps and a secondary step turning the body to face the catcher, center balanced, ready to go either way.

I never, ever want a player to mimic the arm swing of the pitcher. It is measurably slower coming off the bag because she's focusing on the ball leaving the pitcher's hand, not the lift of the foot. It's a later start. Going with the pitcher's foot should leave the left foot of the runner on the bag while the right is already in full motion toward second. Some fine tuning for individual runners is sometimes needed.

This aggressive approach requires adequate practice, and that includes practice at getting back to the bag if the catcher throws behind the runner. Each player needs to understand how far she can be off the bag and still get back safely. Hint: it's usually a lot farther than people think.
 

4 girl's dad

Finding my way
Apr 5, 2013
1,939
63
In the stands...
I prefer the "rocker" start. Runner at first: Left foot on the back side of the bag from home, and on edge of the bag facing second. Think of starter blocks for a sprinter. Right foot behind the bag. As pitcher starts windup, runner "rocks" back, shifting weight to right foot, then explodes toward second as pitcher's drive foot heel (right foot for a rightie) lifts from the ground. Three hard sprint steps and a secondary step turning the body to face the catcher, center balanced, ready to go either way.

I never, ever want a player to mimic the arm swing of the pitcher. It is measurably slower coming off the bag because she's focusing on the ball leaving the pitcher's hand, not the lift of the foot. It's a later start. Going with the pitcher's foot should leave the left foot of the runner on the bag while the right is already in full motion toward second. Some fine tuning for individual runners is sometimes needed.

This aggressive approach requires adequate practice, and that includes practice at getting back to the bag if the catcher throws behind the runner. Each player needs to understand how far she can be off the bag and still get back safely. Hint: it's usually a lot farther than people think.
I really like and use all of this. It has gotten us called Out a few times but if your not getting called out on occasion , you’re not trying hard enough.
 
Nov 22, 2019
154
43
Minnesota, USA
I prefer the "rocker" start. Runner at first: Left foot on the back side of the bag from home, and on edge of the bag facing second. Think of starter blocks for a sprinter. Right foot behind the bag. As pitcher starts windup, runner "rocks" back, shifting weight to right foot, then explodes toward second as pitcher's drive foot heel (right foot for a rightie) lifts from the ground. Three hard sprint steps and a secondary step turning the body to face the catcher, center balanced, ready to go either way.

I never, ever want a player to mimic the arm swing of the pitcher. It is measurably slower coming off the bag because she's focusing on the ball leaving the pitcher's hand, not the lift of the foot. It's a later start. Going with the pitcher's foot should leave the left foot of the runner on the bag while the right is already in full motion toward second. Some fine tuning for individual runners is sometimes needed.

This aggressive approach requires adequate practice, and that includes practice at getting back to the bag if the catcher throws behind the runner. Each player needs to understand how far she can be off the bag and still get back safely. Hint: it's usually a lot farther than people think.
We had issues with our girls getting called out for leaving early this summer season because the ump could see them moving out of the corner of their eye and assumed they left early.

Keep in mind, in MN, 90% of our games are run with 1 ump due to shortages. Think we played in 1 tournament last season besides Northern Nationals that had 2 umps and even then it was a veteran ump with a cadet so like 1.5 umps.
 
Aug 1, 2019
130
43
We had issues with our girls getting called out for leaving early this summer season because the ump could see them moving out of the corner of their eye and assumed they left early.

Keep in mind, in MN, 90% of our games are run with 1 ump due to shortages. Think we played in 1 tournament last season besides Northern Nationals that had 2 umps and even then it was a veteran ump with a cadet so like 1.5 umps.
Yet in my DD's section finals they had three umps and none of them could see the runners a good 2 or 3 steps off before the pitch was released. 🤬
 

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