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Leading Off Bases

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Baserunning is a fun and super important responsibility when playing baseball.  Once a batter reaches a base and becomes a runner, he is holding the team's next run with him and between aggressiveness, speed, quick thinking and intelligence he can use those abilities to get from base to base and score!

Once a player reaches a certain level, baserunners will be allowed to "lead off" the base.  In Little League, baserunners can not leave the bag until the ball reaches the plate.  In Pony leagues and up, baserunners can lead off the bag as soon as the ball is put in play.

What is a "lead off"?  A lead off is an advantage the runner can get by stepping off the bag closer to the next base to get a head start.  The disadvantage is that off the base, the runner is in a vulnerable position of not being "safe" by standing on the bag.  It is very important that during lead offs, runners must pay attention to where the ball is at all time...but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's talk about lead-off absolutes.

PAY ATTENTION

A good baserunner must take care to follow the ball at all times.  It doesn't matter where any of the fielders are, so long as the runner knows who has the ball.  The only time a runner can focus away from the baseball is when he is standing safely on the base.  From on the base, the runner can look for the coach's signals, check the fielders defensive positioning and the batter's count or number of outs in the inning.

Once that is done, and the runner begins to take his lead, his eyes must be on the baseball at ALL times!

TAKING A LEAD

In taking a lead, it is important that runners keep their eyes on the baseball at all times.  I have my runners count off three large steps before taking a two-way athletic lead with their bodies down in athletic positions ready to spring one way or the other.  

It is also important to take a lead big enough to have an advantage, but not too big where the pitcher can easily throw over and pick you off the base.  Practice your lead offs regularly in practice using a pitcher or Coach to try and pick off runners who are not paying attention or have too big of a lead.  

BEING AGGRESSIVE, SECONDARY LEADS

From the leadoff position, runners who have now reduced the distance in which they have to run, can reduce distance even more once the ball is on the way to the plate by shuffling a few more feet once he is sure the pitcher is delivering the ball to the plate.  An aggressive secondary lead can put the runner 10 ft closer to the next base, and an aggressive runner can take the next base on a pitched ball in the dirt...moving himself into scoring position and helping his team.{/reg}



Last Updated ( Monday, March 29 2010 23:49 )  
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