To continue our series on baserunning we will now add a drill you can use to work on getting out of the batter’s box and running through first base. This drill, when done correctly will improve the skills of every level player.
Drill Purpose: Drill is designed to teach your players how to run through first base.
Skill Level: All Levels
Equipment: Baseball field or throw down bases set at a distance of the bases your players play on.
- Players form a line just behind home plate and toward the third base line.
- Player 1 sets up in the batter’s box based on which side of the plate they hit from.
- On the coaches go command the player will simulate a swing and run hard down the first base line, running through first base.
- As they run through the base the player should turn their head to the right in order to develop a habit of checking for overthrown balls.
- Once through the based the player should break down directly on the foul line by chopping their steps until they slow down.
- Once slowed down, they will turn to their right and walk back to the base.
- Then have the players jog around the drill back to the line formed behind home plate.
Key Coaching Points:
- The player should make a full simulated swing just like in a real game. With older players you can have them use a regular bat.
- After the swing, the player should take a couple of powerful short steps out of the batter’s box.
- The more power they push off with the faster they should be able to go.
- Make sure they are running directly down the line as going to wide will only lengthen the run making them easier outs.
- The player should be able to get up to full speed with the stride getting longer as they run down the line.
- The player should always hit the front of the base as that’s the closest point to being safe.
- You must make sure your players get in the habit of looking over their right shoulder for over thrown balls as that will help them jump out toward advancing to second.
- Don’t let your players run through first base and them turn out toward the fence. I know you see young players doing what we call the banana peel and turning way out toward the fence to avoid going toward second. This is fine for very young players but is not correct fundamentals for older players.
- If you are 9 years of age and older you should really learn to run straight through the based directly down the foul line and chop step to a slow you down. You should basically come to a stop straddling the foul line and looking over your right shoulder.
If you work this drill at the beginning of every practice you can use it as a good warm up to get you started.
In our next post we will cover the fundamentals of making the turn at first and thinking about getting to second base.