Friday Base Running Tips
Nothing is more frustrating for baseball coaches than having players miss signs. Often, those unread signs lead to outs, missed opportunities, and game losses. Not all of the blame can go to players in these situations, as most baseball coaches do not spend enough time with practicing their baseball signs, nor do they have players practice receiving the signals enough.
Coaches must not only practice giving their baseball signs, but also should spend time having players practice receiving them.
The main offensive baseball plays are the straight steal, the bunt, and the hit and run, for which there must be an offensive signal. The most basic baseball signs system for youth ballplayers has coaches touch their hat for the hit and run play, their shirt for the steal, and their belt for the sacrifice bunt.
More sophisticated, offensive plays like the delayed steal, double steal, suicide squeeze, safety squeeze and batter" take" require signals at the higher levels of baseball. Coaches can add the number of touches to those areas to designate different plays than the basics.
There are many ways to disguise these baseball signs, with an indicator sign or with wipe off signs, so the opposition does not pick up on them.
Whatever the signal system used, it is necessary that coaches practice giving them, review these signs with players before every game, and have players practice receivingthem.
Drill 1 With players sitting on the bench in front of the coach, coach flashes a sign and the first player to get it yells it out is the winner. Coaches continue to go through the signs until it is apparent all players are beginning to yell out the given sign. Coaches can award the winning player with a baseball card, if desired, to spur others to study and concentrate on the baseball signals.
Drill 2 Coach sets down a few extra bases behind first base so a number of players get to base run and read the signs at once. Coaches can have a single batter at home plate also, or a number of them to go through the motions of the given sign.
The coach flashes the sign from the regular third base coaching box, and sees how players react with the pitch. Players are not allowed to tell each other what sign, if any, they received. Those that get the right sign will react correctly, while those who didn't, obviously, did not get the sign. Coaches can have other coaches as pitcher, catcher, and first baseman, or use regular players at the defensive positions, and use a ball or not.
Once again, the goal is to have players get more baseball signs practice because it is difficult getting enough repetitions in game action, especially for players, who do not get on base nearly as much as others.
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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