Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Pickoff moves to first base: Part 2 – The proper footwork

October 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Pitching, Video Posts

In Part 1 of my tips for right handed pitchers when throwing to first base I talked about the negative aspects of the very popular spin-move pickoff to first base.  In Part 2, I show the footwork I teach pitchers and also explain why I feel it is an all-round better option for right handed pitchers.

Note: In the video I reference another video tip I did in the past about quickening your throws to first by adjusting the way you throw.  That video tip can be found by clicking HERE.

Tomorrow’s post: Fielding the ground ball hit right at you


4 Responses to “Pickoff moves to first base: Part 2 – The proper footwork”
  1. JesseK says:

    I think the jump move is popular because it’s faster? Verlander does it. Searching mlb pick off moves first base on youtube brings up others who do it too. This *might* be safer for an arm, but I’m not sure it’s an effective move to first base? I’m thinking this could be a decent setup move?

    • At the MLB level, umpires are mostly looking to see if righties move in the direction of first base when they throw. If they just jump/spin in place, that’s when a balk is called on right-handers. It happens very fast but I think you’ll find that if you slow it down, they are taking two separate steps which gets a little movement to first. Almost impossible to jump/spin and gain ground to first. More power to them if they can. Thanks for the comment! Let me know what you find.

  2. Andy says:


    I’m coaching an 11u team. This is the first year that these players have the opportunity to hold a runner on at first base. I was using the footwork you described above to show my right handed pitchers how to throw over to first base. The idea of gaining ground to first base with the footwork just makes sense to me. One of the coaches from an older age group watching my practice told my assistant that I’m teaching my kids a move that is a balk. I was not in the conversation, so I don’t know why he thought that this move is a balk. Why would some one think this move is a balk? More importantly, why is not a balk?

    Thanks in advance
    Andy Humble

    • Hi Andy,

      If your players are doing the move as shown in my video than it is not a balk. Not sure what the other coach was referring to about a balk. In that scenario, a pitcher could be called for a balk if he moves his front side (glove, shoulder, foot, knee, heel) at all before the back foot breaks contact with the pitching rubber. A pitcher does not need to step back off the rubber on pickoffs to first so that isn’t the problem. Not sure what his rationale would be. Either way, your players should be fine with the umpires.

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