One of the most difficult plays in baseball is the "pickle play" when a runner is caught in a rundown. This difficulty enhances with a fast runner caught in it and the execution of this play requires a great amount of practice, especially when more than one runner is on base. There are many common baseball rundown mistakes, which good coaches notice and practice to avoid.
It is also important for coaches and players to recognize the score and inning of the game, as sometimes teams try to have players intentionally get caught in a pickle to try to score an important run, even if it means giving up a run to accomplish this. With that situation, teams may have to allow the "pickled" player to advance, so a runner does not score a key run, especially at the youth levels.
Key Coaching Point to effectively avoid baseball rundown mistakes
The point to get across to players is that the key to the correct execution of a rundown is to have as few of throws as possible, with the key to limited throws being getting the runner moving at a fast speed when zero or one throws is all that is needed for the out. The more throws, the more likelihood of an errant one, leading to a safe base runner.
Having said that, it is easier to understand the correct execution of rundowns by pointing out the most common baseball rundown mistakes:
Not running fast at runner, allowing the runner to be able to change direction easily, leading to many throws
Failing to take the ball out of the glove right away so maybe unable to make a quick throw
Having fielders on opposite sides of runner causing a blocked throw
Releasing ball too soon or too late these are most common rundown mistakes and often leads to a safe runner
Receiving player is not ready to take off for player as soon as they catch the ball, allowing runner to stay alive in rundown
Faking throws too often so player to receive ball gets confused and possibly in the runners way
Failing to get out of the base line after throwing ball
Failing to move to the next base after throwing ball (good rundowns have players advance to the base they threw ball towards so a rotation occurs
Failing to be aware of other base runners, which may allow a more important runner to advance
Throwing ball with too much or too little of speed, causing the receiving player to miss the ball
Finally, people often teach the receiving player to call for the ball, which is fine, but the onus for throwing the ball mostly relies on the judgment of the player with the ball. Avoiding these common baseball rundown mistakes save runs and leads to winning games.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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