Baseball Base Running Tips: The Best Key To Use For Stealing Second Base
Thinking of stealing second base? You have to use a “key” from the pitcher to know when it’s safe to go. I have a better “key” to use that is much more efficient than what most baseball coaches use and I’ll explain why. An extra step is a mile in baseball.
Let’s say that you are on first base and a right-handed pitcher is on the mound and he is pitching from the stretch position. After he comes to the set position, you should use a “key” to help you determine if the pitcher is going to throw to the plate or if the pitcher is going to throw to first base for an attempted pick off.
If you are attempting to steal second base, it will let you know when you can start sprinting toward second base. Many base runners use the right-handed pitcher’s front left heel as their “key.” In other words, after the pitcher comes set, the base runner watches to see if the front heel is brought back toward the pitching rubber. Many very good baseball authorities suggest using the front left heel of the pitcher as their key. This tells the base runner that the pitcher must throw to the plate. Once the pitcher brings the heel back, he can not turn and then throw to first base or it’s a balk.
The thing I don’t like about using the pitcher’s front heel as your key is that pitchers “play games” with the front heel to deceive the base runner. Pitchers have a tendency to be very smart and I know for a fact what they are starting to do the last several years. Some pitchers will actually move the heel for a fraction of a second slightly back toward the rubber and then deceive the base runner and throw to first base. The runner who is keying on the heel sometimes gets picked off by what should have been called a balk. In fairness to the umpires, it is not easy for an umpire to see something as small as a pitcher’s foot move illegally for only a fraction of a second.
My favorite key is the front left shoulder of the right-handed pitcher. It is a fabulous baseball base running tip that you should try. If the right-handed pitcher comes set and you see the front left shoulder go toward first base, get back to the base because he’s trying to nail you. If he pulls the shoulder backward, the pitcher must throw the ball home and you should then be sprinting toward second base if you are stealing. It’s more difficult for the pitcher to be as deceptive with the front shoulder. It’s easier for the umpire to see a balk with the shoulder, compared to a balk with the heel or foot because umpires are not usually looking down low near the ground. That and the fact that the shoulder is simply much larger and easier for the umpire to see.
Keying on the right-handed pitcher’s front shoulder is an excellent key for a base runner and one of the more important baseball base running tips. It is a much better key than the front heel, which alot of baseball coaches teach. Show everyone how well schooled you are in baseball. Baseball parents, players and youth coaches, I post a new FREE baseball article on hitting, pitching or fielding every Monday at LarryBaseball.com that you can add to your favorites now. You and other baseball people you share them with will benefit by reading them. Please feel free to use the links for your website, blog or newsletter to attract more visitors or to keep your current visitors returning. I promise you will be raising a few eyebrows!