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Little League Baseball Tie Goes To Runner

As Little League baseball coaches, sometimes we try to teach too much in too short a period. I’ve coached three youth sports and have found that youth baseball is the most over-coached and under-taught sport I’ve seen on the youth level. A good example is teaching back-up situations. It is especially beneficial to teach back-up situations to your outfielders. Remember that if you try to tell a player during a game what to do instead of practicing the situation, the rate of success will diminish. I’ll go over three different back-up situations that I always practice, which have come up during the game.

The first one is the right fielder backing up on a bunt. Yes a bunt. With no one on base and the batter bunts, the play is going to first base. Drill your outfielders in practice (have all take turns) that with no one on base and when the batter squares to bunt, the right fielder will sprint to the first base foul line and come up to back up the throw from whoever fields the bunt. It is important that he tries as best he can to line himself up with the fielder and first base. The goal here is to hold the base runner at first base in case of an overthrow.

The second back up situation is with the center fielder and with a man on first trying to steal second. When the pitch is thrown and the runner at first takes off (when the pitch crosses home plate), the center fielder will sprint toward second base to back up the throw from the catcher. He is actually a second back up because either the second baseman or shortstop (whoever does not field the throw) is the first back up. A very important key here and mistake that often happens is that the center fielder comes in too far and on a really wild throw, the ball will skip past him also. I teach my centerfielder to be about 10-15 feet behind the first back up, and if the ball gets by the first backup, the centerfielder’s goal is to keep the ball in front of him with his body and not to necessarily catch it.

The third situation is really a base coverage by the outfielder. If there is a man on first and the batter bunts to third, many times a smart and aggressive coach will have the base runner at first continue to third knowing the third baseman might be out of position to get back to the base after fielding the ball. So with a man on first and the batter squares to bunt, the third baseman will move in to cover the bunt, and I have the left fielder run in to cover third. We practice this with all players and make sure the left fielder runs in right when the batter squares to bunt, not on the bunt it self.

There are numerous back up situations involving both infielders and outfielders. These are just three of them, which involve the outfielders more in the game. But like everything else, you can tell the players what to do during a game, but if you practice the situation, your odds of success increase!

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques", “Pitching Drills & Techniques”, and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle with Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.