Baseball Pitchers - Holding Runners On

By: Chris Rojas

Holding Runners

This is probably an aspect of the game that is most neglected by both player and coach. Holding base runners is a huge part of the defense that can ultimately save your team runs against them. It's commonly thought that the catcher bares the responsibility of controlling the running game, but it is quite the contrary, it is the pitcher who is in control. Base runners generally take advantage of a pitcher who doesn't pay attention to them. A pitcher who has the ability to control the running game slows down the opposing team's offense considerably.

Here are some helpful tips:

-Know who you're base stealers are
-cant always stop the good base stealers but it's the average guy who you don't want taking advantage of you
-Vary your times to home plate
-incorporate a quick step
quick step is a quicker version of your load (try to avoid using slide steps, you sacrifice the quality of the pitch if not done properly)
-generally would like to have a time of 1.39 or lower to home
this gives the catcher an opportunity to throw the runner out
*don't sacrifice the quality of the pitch trying to be too quick
-Vary your hold times
-change the amount of time you hold on to the ball before you deliver the pitch
-keep in mind that holding on to the ball leaves base runners uncomfortable, but you must mix it up (base stealers tend to get anxious, when you hold on to the ball they will take off to soon or they will sit back on there heels waiting for the pitcher the deliver the ball)
-Visually measure the distance of the cut of the grass to the base,
-this will give you a gauge to read when a base runner is taking too big of a lead.
-Make sure you can see the base runner when you come set.
-if he's not in your vision than there is no way of knowing what kind of lead he has
-lefties should try and minimize looking directly at the runner
use peripheral vision (this gives less of a read for the base runner)
-Use various pick-off moves to keep base runners honest
-step back
-quick pick (picking over before you set your hands)

Remember as a pitcher you should want to be in charge of slowing down the running game against your team. Give your catcher a chance to throw out base stealers. Don't be afraid to be creative, ex: If you pick over and the guy just gets back to the bag think about maybe moving closer to the first base side of the rubber when you're going to attempt another pick-off. You may just get him the next time over.

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