Wednesday Web Gems "“Tough Managerial Decisions
Major league managers have to make quick decisions when the opposition has runners on first and third base. This double steal defense is necessary because, often, opposing teams try to steal a run, so to speak, by stealing a base. Managers have to calculate quickly many things as:
1. Score of game
3. Strength of batter
4. Likelihood of throwing runner out at second
These quick calculations determine how important the runner at third base is, which establishes their first and third base strategy. This strategy may even change from pitch to pitch.
Coaches of youth teams have the same situation decisions and often with the added dilemma of much weaker arms at the catching and second base positions. With that in mind, coaches should have teams practice the following double steal defense plays, so they can adequately defense the double steal. Setting runners, with helmets on, at first and third in practice and having the first base runner steal is the best way for this. Often, coaches can find out what their defensive players are capable of by doing this.
* Catcher takes quick glance at third before throwing to second in order to freeze runner and/or possibly catch an over aggressive third base runner.
These double steal defense plays must be practiced often, as well as the signs relayed from coach to catcher to players.
Often, at the youth levels, teams will have the runner at first intentionally get in a run down so or have base stealers stop before getting to second base so they can score the runner from third base. Coaches have to work on run-downs often to avoid this scoring play.
It bears repeating that coaches should never forget to analyze the strength of the up-to-bat hitter, as often coaches will try to steal that run with a weak hitter up, so coaches are often best off to allow the steal of second base.
Finally, a good rule of thumb is to let the runner steal second when the runner on third is the late-inning, game-winning run, as it is better to make the opposing team earn it with a hit.
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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