Friday Base Running Secrets – The Lean Works
Many players “lose out” on a few hits each year because they do not run through first base correctly on ground ball plays at first. Umpires often call players out at first base, even though they may have beat or tied the play, because of incorrectly running through the base. It is important that base runners learn to slightly lean forward with the upper body as they hit the base. Coaches should bring a picture of a sprinter hitting the tape with this lean as they cross the finish line to give players the correct idea.
Players, who run through the bag without slowing or jumping at the base, two common base running mistakes, get the benefit of the doubt on close plays, as they appear much “safer” with this forward body lean. A few extra safe calls a year and players batting averages increase.
Coaches should also have players practice stopping past first base, by straddling the line and looking for the baseball, before returning to the base. Realizing the play is not over just because they are safe at first, and not peeling out towards the first base dugout right away, are important base running lessons and a sign of a good baseball coach.