Stealing bases can be a critical skill to own on the baseball field. A well-timed steal can help set up a scoring opportunity for you and your team, potentially swinging the game’s momentum in your favor. It is extremely difficult, however, to steal a base without the proper leadoff.
While it’s always beneficial to practice your base running outside on an actual field, you can also master your footwork when your baseball training takes you indoors. Adding the Lead Off Drill to your practice can be a fantastic way to fine tune your skills and get a leg up on your competition this baseball season.
Champion Youth Baseball Coach Branndon Pezzelle has a solid approach to continually getting that premier lead off. Give yourself an edge on the base paths with this quick base running drill.
To set up the Lead Off Drill you’ll need a baserunner, pitcher and a first baseman. Begin taking your lead by taking take two to three steps off of the bag — depending on your speed as a runner — followed by two small shuffles to inch you farther out.
“While you’re doing this, you always want to keep your eye on the pitcher,” Pezzelle says. “It’s the most important part.”
Keeping your eye on the pitcher can help you become accustomed to seeing the tells that he is either coming over with a pickoff move or travelling forward to deliver a pitch. A good pitcher will most likely start a pickoff move with his back leg, so Pezzelle says this should be your reading point. Once the pitcher has committed to the plate, take off and claim your next stolen base.
Make sure that you try and keep your steps as consistent as possible with your lead off. Having the same lead length time after time can allow you to confidently leave the bag and adjust to outside factors, like a pitcher with an impressive move or less-than-suitable field conditions. Trust your speed, understand your routine and nail down your base stealing abilities with help from this effective indoor baseball drill.
Keep your feet moving at your next baseball practice with these agility drills to help improve your athleticism and footwork.