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Baserunning 101

Baserunning 101

In softball, speed can get you to many places, including the next base. Stealing bases is where quick players get to really show off. This blog will cover the different types of steals and how to help yourself become more successful on the bases. 

  1. Straight steals are what everyone imagines when you think of taking an extra base. In softball, runners are allowed to leave 1st once the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. Runners leave the bag right at the release in a straight steal and sprint to the advancing base.
  2. Delay steals can be done in multiple ways. When we think of a delayed steal, we think of a runner taking a big lead and then taking off once the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher. Delayed steals are executed best when the defense seems to be paying less mind to runners. When catchers lob the ball back to pitchers and shortstops are looking down at their shoes, this is the best time to delay. 
  3. 1st and 3rd delay steals are slightly different from a straight delay steal. When a runner is on 3rd, the runner on 1st will steal at about a 50% run or a jog, trying to bait the catcher to throw. This is done to distract the defense from the runner on 3rd and provoke a rundown between 1st and 2nd, allowing the runner on 3rd to sneak home. 
  4. Hook slides. We all know the figure four-slide, but it was about the effectiveness of a hook slide. Hook slides are when a runner throws their body an arm’s length away from the bag. This is usually done on their side with just enough arm length to grab the base. This creates a more difficult tag for the fielder because there is less body close to them to reach. 
  5. Tagging up. When tagging up, runners must stay on the base they’re at until the catch is made; then, they may advance to the next bag. When tagging up, it’s essential to run in a straight steal and most likely slide to avoid a close play. If the runner decides not to advance, they can still sprint hard off the bag to draw a throw. If the fielder is baited into throwing, the runner should stay off the bag and watch the throw. If the throw is bad, they may be able to take the next base.