Advanced Youth Baseball Training Tips and Techiques

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Stealing Bases in Baseball

BY: Dustin Peek

In the game of baseball, stealing bases is one of the most exciting plays to be a part of. Strategically, it's one of the riskiest calls for a coach or manger to make. However, when successful, it can give any team a significant scoring advantage. There are many things that a player can do to give himself an advantage when stealing a base. Read on to discover the top 10 tips for stealing bases:

1. Know your opponents - One of the biggest factors that determines the success rate of a baserunner is the talent level of the opposing team. If the opposing team has a pitcher with a slow delivery and a catcher with a weak arm, then the risk of stealing a base should be low. However, if the pitcher has a quick release, and the catcher has a cannon for an arm, then you better think twice before taking that first step toward the next base.

2. Get a good lead - The closer you can get to the next base before the pitch is thrown, the better your chances of beating the throw. However, this has to be balanced so that you are close enough to the current base to avoid a pick-off. The typical lead should be such that you can take one step and slide head first back to the bag. This distance is different depending on each runner and each opposing pitcher.

3. Keep a low stance - You want to keep a balanced and low stance prior to the pitch. Don't lean one way or the other. This allows you to get a better push off for the steal or a quicker return to the bag during a pick-off move.

4. Anticipate the pitch - Statistics show that you have a much better chance of stealing a base against a breaking ball or changeup than a fastball. There are two reasons for this. First, breaking balls and changeups are slower pitches so it increases the time for the ball to reach home plate. Second, breaking balls and changeups are more difficult for a catcher to handle because it interrupts their rhythm and ball exchange. Take a quick look at the catcher's signs to see if you can tell what the next pitch will be. If you can't tell from the signs, try to pick non-fastball counts when attempting a steal.

5. Watch for the trigger - For a right-handed pitcher, watch for his left foot. As soon as he lifts it, make your jump. For a left-handed pitcher, the trigger is much less obvious. One of the only things to look for is his right foot. If a left-handed pitcher's right foot crosses back behind the pitching rubber, then he must go home with the ball.

6. Take a crossover step - Make your first step a crossover step with your left foot. Don't lose time by taking a short first step with your right foot.

7. Stay low at the jump - Ask any track and field sprinter what the most important factor is for winning a race, and he'll tell you that it is the first few fractions of a second when he jumps off of the blocks. This also applies to base stealing. Getting a good jump is much more important than running speed. Stay low and keep your head down during the initial jump. Concentrate on getting to full speed within the first two to three steps.

8. Take a quick peek - After you cross the half-way point, take a quick look back to home plate to make sure that the batter didn't hit a pop fly. The last thing you want to do is be the cause of a double play.

9. Slide away from the tag - Almost all infielders covering second or third base during steal attempts are right handed. In this case, the tag will be applied from the runner's left to right. Always slide on the right side of the bag to give yourself a better chance of avoiding the left-to-right tag.

10. Find the ball after the slide - After safely reaching the next base, quickly find the location of the ball. Errant throws from the catcher are common, and you could take an extra base if the ball finds its way into the outfield.

The above list contains the top 10 tips that you can use to improve your base stealing skills. Use these tips to help your team advance runners and score more runs.

Dustin Peek enjoys helping others learn the skills necessary to dominate on the baseball field. He is a former player and true fan of America's pastime. Learn everything you need to know about baseball, stealing bases, and other baserunning topics at:
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