Taking the proper lead and getting an aggressive secondary are two of the most important yet overlooked aspects of offensive baseball.
I can still hear my college coach explaining over and over – we get on base by hitting the ball but we score runs by running the bases well. He taught us a very simple and straightforward way to take our lead from first, second, and third base. Below is a short description of a lead from each base.
1st Base Lead: A three step and adjust lead. Standing on first base – take three consecutive steps. Each step should be about a yard in length. Take your normal steps and then your adjust should put you into an athletic position. This is a ten to twelve foot lead. You don’t need to look back at first base. Your eyes should remain on the pitcher. You know that you are a one step and dive back to first base. This lead is aggressive yet safe from a pickoff.
2nd Base Lead: Two back – Five step and adjust lead. From second base take two steps back from second base – angled toward left center field. Then take five steps and then an adjust that puts you into an athletic position. This is a fifteen to eighteen foot lead. After getting your lead then you can start to creep towards the third base / pitcher to keep your feet moving. When getting your lead from second base it is important to keep your feet moving and not stand stationary. In case of a pick you are two steps and a dive back to second. This is an aggressive yet safe lead to take from second.
3rd base Lead: One back and then three and adjust. This is basically the same lead as the first base lead but you want to take one step into foul ball territory before you start your lead to make sure that you are not in the field of play because if you get hit by a batted ball then you are out. In case of a pick – you are a one step and dive back to the base.
Secondaries: Your secondary should basically be the same at every base. The general rule of a secondary is to take two aggressive shuffles. Try not to cross your feet during your secondary. You should try and stay low during your secondary and try and cover as much ground as you can without overextending yourself. Your eyes should always follow the ball and your head should stay as still as possible.
Working back to the bag: If you take two aggressive secondaries, then your weight should be pretty balanced with a little more weight on your right leg. Make sure you work back to the bag hard. Don’t stay out there because you leave yourself open to a back pick. It is important to work back aggressively while still keeping your eyes on the ball. A general rule is simply to shuffle back to the bag.
I hope these general guidelines help you as you continue to improve as a baserunner
Until next time