Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Learning To Run the Bases in Softball

is every bit as important as in baseball, but because lead offs are not allowed, base running strategy is much different. At 60' base paths vs. 90' in baseball, a smart runner can be every bit as effective as a fast runner, if not more so.

Tactics for running from home to 1st base is quite similar to baseball, as far as running hard through the base, never slow as you approach the base, and veering to the right after hitting the bag, as an overthrow will be to the right side of the runner's view.

The same tactic for an extra base hit, of swinging out towards the dugout, hitting the inside of the base and taking a straight line to second base, is identical to baseball.

Once on first base, the goal of advancing is identical to baseball, but the tactics utilized are totally different, as leadoffs are not allowed in softball. There are two methods of getting a good leadoff and jump on the ball to advance to second base.

The first thing to remember is the runner can not leave the base until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, so timing is critical. This applies to every base, not just first base.

The first method is to place your left foot on the back half of the base, your right arm leading towards second base as your body is cocked towards the pitcher. As the pitcher releases the ball, push off the base with your left leg, take three steps forward, always facing and looking at the ball, hop, hop and stop, always being prepared to advance to second on a ground ball or passed ball, or to get quickly back to first base.

The second method is to place your right leg against the front of the base leading with your left arm. Take three steps, hop, hop and stop. Either one of these methods are fine, unless there's a particular reason for using one or the other, it's a matter of personal choice.

To lead off of second base you use one of the two methods described for first base, but the path you'll choose to third base will determine where you'll take your lead to.

If you're looking at a situation where it is imperative you reach third base as quickly as possible, such as in a sacrifice bunt situation, you will take your 3 step, hop, hop, stop lead in a direct line to third base. The old "shortest distance between two objects is a straight line" rule.

However, if you're in a normal situation of scoring being your ultimate goal, you will take your normal lead off, except you will not go in a straight line to third, but rather veer outwards toward left field. This will allow you to approach third base, on a hit, in a manner in which you can " Cut " the base by hitting the inside corner of the base with your foot, and project a straight line to home plate.

Leading off third base, again uses the identical sprinter's start. The runner will take their three step, hop, hop, stop lead, however when they stop their lead, it is critical the runner's shoulders are square to the infield, as they must be able to quickly return to third base. Should their shoulders be square with the catcher, they most likely will be thrown out by a good catcher, because they won't be able to turn their body around and return to third before the ball arrives.

There is another distinct difference between softball and baseball lead offs at third base. The initial lead off for both runners is taken in foul territory, a ball hitting either runner in fair territory is out, but where the baseball player returns to third in foul territory a softball runner returns in fair territory.

The reason for this is the difference of where the third baseman normally positions themselves. In baseball, the third baseman normally plays behind the base, so returning in fair territory would have the runner returning into the tag.

The third baseman in softball normally plays in front of the base, so by returning in fair territory the runner would obstruct the catcher's throw.

Jim Bain - Former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth. Visit his exciting info packed website: http://www.Learn-Youth-Baseball-Coaching.com

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