Pitching Pickoff Moves
By Coach John Baker for TheCompletePitcher.com
Can some base runners actually tip-off their intention to advance ninety (90) feet? You bet they can ! So what can we look for ? To help us answer that question, we’re going to need the help from our first baseman and catcher.
Your first baseman should look for:
Encouragement signs from the first base coach or the third base coach in the direction of the base runner like hand gestures, head nods and certain verbal commands like.. ” get out there more”, and the like.
Watch the base runner’s toe of the right foot, pointing the cleat in the direction of the next base.
Watch the base runner lift up, ever-so-slowly, the heel of the left foot and start to rotate the entire cleat towards the next base.
Have your first baseman step off fifteen (15) feet from the bag, then mark a line in the infield dirt. If the base runner gets to that point, depending on who’s on the mound that day, a pickoff move may be called for. Also, depending on how close a runner gets to that mark should indicate a “go” or “no go” for a steal.
Your catcher should look for:
When you come set, glance over to first, then look back at your backstop (catcher), its not unusual for a base runner on first to take just one more slide step towards second. If you were to look again at this runner you’ll never pickup the extra distance. Your field of vision just doesn’t have that kind of memory perspective. Good base stealing clubs know this! But, this may be an extra step that you just can’t afford to allow. Have your catcher watch the base runner for this extra slide step and alter you. It’s time to bring this larceny to a halt – pickoff time!
The batter steps into the box, takes a few practice swings, then gives nod of the head to the base runner. Hit and run time folks!
Coach John A. Baker is a volunteer pitching coach in Sprinfield, Mass., who has published a free book for youth pitchers and coaches titled, "A Pitcher's Notebook For Amateur Play," at right. For more information about his book or his coaching services, please email Coach Baker at jab71945 (at) aol.com.
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