Our manual has 142 pages of material related to developing base runners.
There are 64 separate Training Modules in our program designed to sharpen you up as a base runner.
Our philosophy is that you do not need speed to be an above average base runner.
A player that knows how to be aggressive, read situations, react quickly and make solid decisions can be a real asset to his team.
Generally, we are going to use our bats to mount an offense to beat the other team and very often during the season we can out hit a lot of clubs. But every team eventually runs up against the dominant pitcher who takes away our offense. II we can match up for a while, with solid base running we can usually manufacture a run or two and maybe steal a victory. Preparing every player for this day is the key, and the way to do that is to use every normal game and base running situation throughout the year as the training ground so that we are sharp on the day it is really needed.
Teams that do not run the bases well are going to lose more than their share of games.
Late jumps, hesitating, poor reads, short leads, poor secondary leads, not taking the extra base, taking wide turns, all add up to giving away runs and outs which are inexcusable. That is sloppy baseball and it will not endear you to HS or college coaches.
The fundamentals of running bases need to be drilled in every player to avoid running into outs and killing potential big innings, which usually come with 2 outs, but never with 3 outs.
Speed is a great asset and if used properly it can be a game changer, but not every player will bring that extra gear or quickness to the table. But every player can learn the various techniques and fundamentals used for good base running. The key is not to be fast, but to find a way to contribute. Looking for a momentary lapse on the part of the defense is the first step. Acting on it immediately is the second part.
As an example, lets say we are in a 1 run ball game and runs are going to be hard to come by and finally we get a base runner over at first base but he is one of our slower guys.
Obviously we don’t want to send him and have him thrown out. So, as a slow runner who should not attempt to steal in this situation, how can he contribute?
Well, the other team does not know exactly what he is going to do and that is to our full advantage, but only if we exploit it.
Maybe he can do a fake steal and gets things started. Maybe a fake steal will throw the pitcher off his rhythm. Or maybe it might get a middle infielder to break early opening up a hole.
Maybe our batter shows bunt and pulls it back… and takes a pitch. Now they have to respect that the bunt is in play, so they adjust their depths and positions giving our batter an increased opportunity for a base hit.
Or if it looks like he is taking an aggressive lead, they may think we will wait for a curve ball count and send him then.
If the coach is sending over signals and the runner is active, it gets things heated up.
But maybe our player is afraid to steal, and plays it very safe by taking a late and very short and lead giving away our lack of a strategy. And maybe our coach plays a conservative role sealing the deal that nothing is on by being inactive with his signs.
After just a moment of this their coach and players can see that nothing is happening which makes them relax and focus on the hitter making them a better team. But, if our player takes an early confident lead, and extends that lead showing himself to be aggressive and creating some doubts as to his intentions, he succeeds in making the other team wonder about him and what he might do, which is exactly our goal. The process of contributing has started when we have the other team wondering and guessing and over reacting.
If he can keep the first baseman on the bag, with a large lead that is one less infielder they have to defend against our batter who could be a left handed pull hitter.
By taking an aggressive 1 way lead, he knows he has to return to first base and that is his only focus so Its a simple and safe mission once perfected. The key is to take a big lead, look aggressive, attract attention, and get back to the bag quick as a rabbit when they do throw over and never get caught leaning the wrong way.
If he can get the pitcher throwing over a few times, we just might get a wild throw advancing us to second or third. By getting the pitcher to throw over a few times every time we have a runner during the game, we are well into the strategy of tiring out the starting pitcher as that puts more wear and tear on his legs and arms and eventually he might tire, and maybe we get a less capable relief pitcher. Mission accomplished.
Or, if he can get that pitcher to focus on his big lead, the pitcher has to give up some of his attention units on the batter and maybe he goes to a slide step and alters his mechanics. Maybe the pitcher falls behind, forcing him to throw a good hittable pitch. Maybe he walks the batter and we get a rally started.
If the opposing pitching coach or catcher thinks there is a possibility this base runner might steal, as that lead is very aggressive, he might not call for the curve so fast or as often. This gives our batter more fastballs which is to our advantage again.
If he can get the catcher to throw the ball down, all the better because just maybe the ball ends up in right field and he can advance to second or third base. Mission accomplished.
By taking a large 1 way lead and learning how to look aggressive and return efficiently there are a lot of good things that can happen, but as soon as he takes a normal or a conservative lead all those good things evaporate in a split second.
Contribute is the key word. How can you as a non fast base runner contribute is the question and there are dozens of ways the average or below average base runner can become a great base runner and help his team.
Our Base Running Program and Training Modules will show how to take advantage of every possible situation in a game allowing you to be a contributing force any time you are on the bases.
The great college Coach Andy Lopez wrote a manual on this subject and its one of the best and as such we have incorporated many of his drills and philosophies into our manual years ago.
Here is a situation we will never forget. Mike Vass was a high school player from Villa Park, California and was playing in a showcase looking for a scholarship. Mike was at second base as a runner looking to make something happen. The batter hit a foul ball pop up to third baseman in foul territory just behind the coaching box. Mike instinctively and aggressively tagged up and took third to the surprise of the shortstop and third baseman. The Univ. of Nevada awarded Mike a D1 scholarship as soon as the game was over citing they wanted more players just like him.
Good base runners learn how to contribute in spite of not being fast.