Coach's Corner | Softball Tip
Presented By: Coach Annie Van Wetzinga, NIKE Softball Camp Director Metro State
Base Running Drill
Base Running Drill
"Our program emphasizes base running quite a bit. It is something we work on and drill especially early in the season and in the fall. Have the players split up between the three bases. Have someone at the pitching rubber to give a motion for leadoffs or even a full pitch to a catcher. The first step is to emphasize an aggressive and on time leadoff (we use the rocker step) especially at 1st and 2nd base. At 3rd base, we tell them it should be a shorter lead in foul territory. 2nd base should be the largest. When we talk about being “on time”, their movement should start when the pitcher is at 12 o’clock or just passed that in her motion, so their back foot will be coming off the base just as the pitcher reaches her release point. Once we go through drill the appropriate leadoff at each base with a pitcher’s motion, we then add reading the pitch into the catcher. If the ball is in the dirt or bobbled by the catcher, we have set ourselves up with the aggressive leadoff for our runners at 1st and 2nd to take the next base. We tell whoever is playing the role of the pitcher and the catcher to occasionally throw a pitch in the dirt or to bobble it so our players can practice getting that immediate read and being aggressive with taking the base. The last part of the drill will be dive backs to the base. Since we are taking aggressive leads, we know that some teams may try pick off plays. We tell our runners at 1st and 2nd to get a slight drop step to the base and go to the back corner so they are harder to tag in this situation. To drill this aspect of base running, we will then tell whoever is playing the catcher, to occasionally hop out of the squat and act like they are going to pick a runner off. As soon as our runners read that quick hop up and movement towards the throw motion, they are told to dive back to the base appropriately.
These are all very small details of base running but we strongly believe that it sets up to take extra bases on teams and for our players to get comfortable and good with reading the pitch, the catcher and diving back to bases when necessary. It’s a very simple drill and set up that does not take long at all to incorporate into your practices."
For more great tips from Coach Annie Van Wetzinga, come join the fun and get better this summer at Metro State University Softball Camp!