Rundowns are some of the most exciting matchups in baseball. One baserunner tries to outsmart and outhustle a trove of defensive players that try to block his advancement to the next base. A symphony of give-and-take, the rundown can be over quickly if someone if out of tune. Working on rundowns, for both fielders and baserunners, is a crucial part of any practice.
Champion Youth Baseball Coach Branndon Pezzelle has some helpful tips for working on rundowns at your next indoor baseball practice.
“I teach my [players] that with the Rundown Drill, we want to get a [runner] out in three throws or less, and if you’re the runner, you want to stay alive as long as you can.”
With this mindset, you can start building your brawn between the bases with the well-run Rundown Drill.
The Rundown Drill is easy to perform — all you need is one baserunner and as many defenders as you’d like. Begin the drill with the runner in the middle and have one fielder with the ball. As the fielder backpedals the runner to the base, they should be showing the ball high for an easy, quick toss and run full speed.
When the timing best matches up for the out, the fielder should toss the ball to his teammate at the opposite base, following the throw as they run the runner down in the opposite direction. “You’re going to replace him, covering the base waiting for that runner to come back,” adds Pezzelle. The drill will end once the runner is tagged out or has advanced to the next base safely.
While fielders can work on their throws and base coverage, baserunners can also benefit from the rundown drill. From a runner’s perspective, this drill is great for building speed and agility, as well as change-of-direction skills. This can help you extend the time of your rundown. You want the ball to be thrown from fielder-to-fielder as many times as possible. “The longer you can stay alive in the rundown,” Pezzelle says, “the more the likelihood of the fielders making a mistake and messing up on the ball and you getting safely to where you want to go.”
The Rundown Drill can be a great addition to your baseball training routine — whether you’re indoors or out. Have fun with it by adding a sense of competition among your team. Get everyone involved so that they can enjoy the practice and build those vital baserunning and fielding skills that are necessary when the season starts.
Discover more base running drills like The Leadoff Drill, too.