Leadoffs from 1st Base
How to Get Your Lead:
For our regular leadoff from 1st base, we walk off with a right step, left step, then a right step. This gives us a good 3 steps. Depending on the pitcher, your speed and skill set as a runner and the age, we may recommend adding a half step here or as much as a step and a half. The safe play is a half step, but some of our best runners at the youth levels will go off more if the pitcher doesn’t have quick feet or a good arm. From here, you will get your secondary.
One-way leads are easy. Get off around 4 full steps, but you should be leaning onto the left leg immediately once there is any movement from the pitcher. You are going back and if the pitcher does go to the plate, you’re only going to get a one shuffle lead.
With a Righty Pitcher
You should never get picked off from a righty if you aren’t stealing. A few things that are important are to pay attention, be ready for a pickoff as you extend your lead, look in between both feet, so you can see both feet. Be aware of the balk move. They pull that way too much at the youth levels and a lot of umpires are bad and they won’t call it.
What Not To Do
In a big game, this runner gets picked in a situation where he JUST CAN’T GET PICKED OFF. Last inning, home run hitter up at the plate and they are down 2 runs. He shouldn’t be stealing here. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid here. The runner shuffles off, which is where it got him. He should have stepped with his left foot and if the pitcher picks when this step occurs, you just get your chest over your left foot and go back in hard….kind of like a sprinter body leaning to explode out of the blocks.
With a Lefty Pitcher
You should never, ever get picked off from a lefty if you aren’t stealing. If you’re not stealing, we prefer you get a one way lead, lean back on the left leg and then shuffle once when the ball is actually being delivered to the plate. Too many runners get into their secondary too early and this is why so many runners get picked off. Be smart and wait until the pitcher is actually delivering the ball to the plate before getting your secondary.
Here is an example of what not to do.
The slide step pickoff can be very effective. Make sure not to fall for it as a base runner.
Leadoffs from 2nd Base
Getting a lead from 2nd base is fairly easy. We are just walking off here nice and smooth. With 2 outs or if we have a slow runner on 2nd base, we like them to get deeper so it makes it easier to score on a single. With a faster runner and less than 2 outs, we like them in the baseline, so they can steal 3rd base easier. You should be able to see the 2nd baseman, but seeing the shortstop is much harder. We want to make sure our 3rd base coach is vocal here and helpful. A good 3rd base coach makes it a lot easier to steal a base. They will tell us to add, go back a bit or back hard. Pay attention and trust your coach.
Don’t Get Back Picked From the Catcher
When leading off 2nd base, we have to make sure we get back hard after our secondary. Otherwise, this may happen with a star catcher.
The 2 Main Moves You Are Going To See From PItchers Picking Off to 2nd Base
The inside move is very common and good pitchers will utilize this to make it harder for us to steal 3rd base. A good move will look similar to how they deliver the pitch to home plate. A bad move will look completely different. However, sometimes a runner will get off too big and then a quick inside move works great. For the most part though, if a pitcher has an inside move that looks the same as his leg lift when he goes to the plate, it’s much harder to steal off this pitcher.
In this clip, this runner is going on the leg lift. This is why we mix in some inside moves. When a pitcher does this, we won’t be as aggressive.
The Glove Side Pick
This is super quick and very effective when a runner is off just a little too far. It’s a quick move and when done correctly, you can pick off a lot of runners.
Leadoffs from 3rd Base
Too many runners start with a big lead at 3rd, then have a short secondary. We want a shorter lead in foul territory and we are going to go right, left right and stay on the balls of our feet and have a good body lean forward once the ball crosses home plate. You need to be able to bounce back into the baseline and head back in case the catcher tries to back pick here. Make sure we’re not getting our secondary until the pitcher starts towards home plate. No getting picked off here.
In this clip, Gomez is leaning towards home too early. He shouldn’t be going home until the pitcher’s stride foot is way more forward going to home plate. Even though, he got caught leaning too early, he would have been back on time. He is only out here because the 3rd baseman gets inside the bag and blocks him from touching 3rd base. However, if Gomez wasn’t leaning towards home too early, this never would have happened. He would have been back easy.