The importance of learning to run the bases
Every year that I coached at the high school level I would start the season teaching my players how to correctly run the bases. It literally was the very first thing we would do at the start of the very first practice after the teams are picked. I’d take them around the bases stopping at each one to teach them what they needed to know and then to do drill work on that information. Usually each base would take about 10-15 minutes so for the first week I would start each practice at a different base.
Doing so at the very beginning of practice has a couple benefits. One, the players are fresh and are able to give it their full attention. Two, it clearly sends the message that you care A LOT about how they run the bases since it’s the first thing you are covering each day.
Which is why my heart melted when I saw an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how Ryan Sandberg is stressing base running this spring with the Phillies. Below are some quotes from the article. To read the entire article, click HERE.
“It’s something, for me, that needs to be worked on,” Sandberg said. “Sometimes it goes unnoticed. I think it’s one of the facets of the game. Good baserunning, in a lot of ways, wins you more games than any facet of the game.”
“A big part of baserunning is knowing the situation and being smart baserunners,” Sandberg said. “You don’t have to be the fastest guy to be a good baserunner, but you have to know the game of baseball and know the situation. Veteran players, I would think they would be good baserunners just because of their experience.”
So Sandberg has made situational running a frequent topic early in camp. He schedules 15 minutes of baserunning drills every morning after the team stretch. The emphasis of the first few drills was hitting the bag at the correct angle, a baseball fundamental that could make a difference later.
“When you start with the basics, hitting the base right and hitting the corner, that is maybe two steps for a double. It will speak volumes later in the year because we are paying attention to it now. At this level, the most fundamentally sound teams are the ones that always win.”
I’ve always been a fan of Ryan Sandberg. I’m even more of a fan now.
Tomorrow’s post: Drill tutorials