Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

When second basemen cover first

May 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Second Base

I’ve probably wrote on this website a hundred times about how important proper footwork is when it comes to defense.  Most errors, non-plays, and other mistakes are causes by the feet not being in the correct place at the correct time.  There are countless examples of this but I noticed another the other day while watching a game on TV.  It involves the common situation of the second baseman covering first base on a sacrifice bunt.

When this common play is practiced, I often have to correct the second baseman’s footwork.  The mistake many second baseman make is shown in the following photo. (Sorry for the softball photo and the small size.  It was the best I could find.)

Wrong footwork on this type of throw from the home plate area

Wrong footwork on this type of throw from the home plate area

 You’ll notice that the fielder’s right foot is on the bag.  This is common for first baseman because they are taught to step to the ball with their glove side foot and keep their non-glove side foot on the bag.  On normal throws to first base where a first baseman needs to stretch, this is the correct footwork to use.  However, when a throw is coming from the home plate area, this common footwork creates some problems.  It doesn’t give the thrower a very good target to throw to and it gives the receiver very little mobility if the throw is a bad one.

Because of this, when a throw comes from the home plate area, the first baseman (if he doesn’t have to charge) and the second baseman (if he is covering first base) should get to the bag and place their LEFT foot on the bag so that their body is squared up to the throw coming from the home plate area as shown in this photo.

Correct!  Left foot on the bag and squared to the thrower.

Correct! Left foot on the bag and squared to the thrower.

Doing it this way gives a good inside-the-line and away from the runner target to throw to.  If the throw is poor to the infield side of first base, the fielder using this correct footwork can reach over as needed and catch the ball while still in contact with the bag as shown in this photo.

Correct footwork with the left foot on the bag.

Correct footwork with the left foot on the bag.

If the throw is poor to the foul side of the bag, he can quickly shift his feet over the bag and get that throw as well like shown in this photo.

Correct footwork allows this player to shift left on a poor throw to the foul side of the bag.

Correct footwork allows this player to shift left on a poor throw to the foul side of the bag.

This simple footwork is an easy fix but if not made, the very simple throw on a sac bunt can turn into a circus rather quickly.

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