The old adage is “control what you can control.” Baseball players have been reciting this phrase for years but sometimes, we forget the simplicity of the statement. In a normal nine inning baseball game or a shorter youth game, a hitter gets to hit three to four times. If that hitter is successful at putting the ball in play then they will be asked to run three to four times.
It amazes me almost on a daily basis how not running to first base hard is accepted. I like to call them hard 90’s. If you play in a youth league then it might be a hard 70 or a hard 60.
“Control what you can control.” We can always control our effort, and an effort that must be given is to always run hard to first base, even if the out is destined to happen, even if you hit a tapper back to the mound and the pitcher is jogging over to first, even if you pop a ball up to the 2nd baseman. Go hard out of the box, if the ball is in the infield, run through the bag, hit the front to the middle of the base, keep your stride, don’t stutter step. When you run through the bag then break down quickly and look to the right for a possible overthrow.
Running to first should be practiced, and practiced, and practiced.
Coaches out there: if you want to condition your players, have them finish practice by running hard 90’s and go through the bag and breaking down and looking to the right four times at the end of practice and remind them after that a hard 90 is expected every time!
Players: You never want to have regrets in this game and the easiest way to not have regrets is to run the bases hard every time. It shows everyone that you play the game the right way, it shows your coaches that you are competing.
You never know who is watching…