Don’t Get Picked by the Pitcher or Catcher
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.
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.
Catchers Back Picking
Good catchers like to back pick at 1st base. Be aware of this and get back after your secondary lead.
Know Where the Outfielders Are
This is basic. You should always know where the outfielders are when you are on the bases. It doesn’t matter if you’re on first base, second base or third base. Once you’re on base, have an idea how the outfielders are setup. It’s going to help you make better decisions on reading balls in the outfield if you know where they are.
Freeze on Line Drives
Whether you are on first, second or third base, you need to freeze and see that line drive through so we don’t get doubled up. Freeze, see it through and then go once you read that ball through the infield.
Ground Ball Moving
You’re on 1st base. You are running on every ground ball. This is easy.
Fly Ball, Get Off
On fly balls, most coaches will tell you to get off half way, but you really aren’t going to get off half way on every fly ball and at every level. Basically, the farther the ball is from, the farther you can get off the bag. With 90 foot bases, you may actually get off half way or even more on a deeper fly ball to center field or left field. At the youth level, you may only be getting off 1/3 of the way or a little bit further depending on the distance of the fly ball.
Deep Fly Ball With Outfielders Playing Deep, Tag Up
You won’t see this happen very often, but on deep fly balls with the outfield playing deep, you’re going to get off the bag, then come back in a hurry and tag up. You could play all the way through high school baseball and never see this play, so don’t worry about it too much. It is something you should know though as you get to the higher level with bigger fields.