Drop your shoulder at each base
My hometown Phillies have some players who can really run. Ben Revere, Jimmy Rollins, and Domonic Brown all have “plus speed.” But if you ask a scout who the best base runner is on the Phillies, every single one of them will say Chase Utley. How can this be?
Chase Utley has average speed for a middle infielder but what makes him a great base runner is what goes on upstairs in his head combined with proper technique when running.
In the near future I will be making a full-length instructional video on how to run the bases. In the video I will include the tons of little things that go into doing it correctly. Today’s tip is one of those little things.
When a runner approaches a base he must drop/dip his left shoulder in order to touch the correct part of the bag and create the proper angle/path to the next base. Here is a visual …
In the picture above, identical twins (exact same size and speed) both get base hits and try to stretch them into doubles. Twin #1 (yellow line) drops his shoulder correctly and is able to make a sharper turn at the bag. He touches the proper spot on the inside corner of the bag (click HERE for info about that) and proceeds towards second base. Twin #2 (red line) does not drop/dip his shoulder enough or at all which causes his momentum to take his path a little bit farther out towards right field.
Which runner has a better chance of being safe at second base? Obviously, the answer is Twin #1 because his technique and angle will allow him to take a path that is a little bit shorter.
I cannot stress enough to coaches and players the importance of running the bases properly. It should be the easiest part of the game for players but unfortunately, because it is rarely practiced, it often becomes the worst part of their game.
Having great speed is always a plus but don’t be fooled into thinking that pure speed equals great base running. It doesn’t. Just watch the Phillies for a few games if you want proof.
Next post: Assume the lead runner on a bunt play