Basic Base Running Instructions
While there are a wide variety of possibilities as a base runner, below are a few common situations that every player should be able to execute. As with many aspects of the game, being a great base runner is often not about pure speed, but rather by taking pride in the hustle and game awareness that it requires.
On Contact Out of the Batter's Box
- Always hustle and run hard out of the box.
- Take note of where the ball is hit on contact to determine whether to run through or round first base.
- Be sure to pick up signals from the first base coach.
On a Ground Ball or Infield Play
- If the ball is hit on the ground, run as hard as possible on a direct line to first base.
- Strike the front (side closest to home plate) of the bag with the foot, and continue to run hard through the bag.
- Once through the bag, break down with fast choppy steps and look right to identify if the ball has been thrown past the first baseman.
- Safety tip: Do not slide into first base.
On a Base Hit
- Think double once the ball gets through the infield.
- Make an arc in foul territory and round first by touching the center of the edge facing second base to create a "starter's block" that allows for a push off of the base (same approach for rounding second base on your way to third).
- Make a determination as to whether you should advance to second base or break down and return to first base - be sure to listen to your first base coach for direction.
- Take note of how the defense is positioned.
- The on-deck batter has a responsibility to assist teammates with the decision to come into home plate sliding or standing.
- The on-deck batter is also responsible for informing the current batter if the third strike is dropped by the catcher.
- On a hit-and-run play, the runner on first base should break as if they are stealing second base.
- The runner should peek in upon contact so as to be aware of where the ball is hit. If it is a pop-fly, the runner should get back to first base.
- If there are other runners on base, remain hung up as long as possible to allow them to advance to the next base.
- The runners behind the player in the rundown should move up to the next base, but be ready to go back to their original base if the runner ahead of them comes back to their original base.
- Force the defense to make as many throws as possible, with the hopes of generating an error.
When Tagging Up
- On a fly ball deep into the outfield, tagging up is standard procedure.
- On more shallow balls, it is a judgment call. The closest base coach should help guide the runners.
- If it looks like a routine fly ball, stay on the bag, wait for the catch and then tag.
- If it looks like it might fall for a base hit, go halfway and take off once it falls. If it is caught, the runner will have time to get back to the bag.