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Proper baserunning techniques and fundamentals in fastpitch softball can have a big impact on the outcome of a game. Quality base running fundamentals can improve your softball teams ability to put more pressure on the defense and beat out the “bang-bang” plays.

Which in turn will help you score more runs!

In this post we explain some important baserunning fundamentals that you will want to focus on this season.

Softball Baserunning Fundamental #1: Proper Running Form

This is one of the most frequently missed things, especially of you coach a youth team. Taking some time to teach some basics of running form can go a long ways!

Watch the video below as Coach Ritchhart covers some of the most basic aspects of running form.

Once again, just a few basics can make a big difference for some of your players!

But now let’s move on to more advance baserunning fundamentals, starting with running to first base.

Softball Baserunning Technique #2: Running Through First Base

Similar to running form, the finer points of this technique are often ignored. Paying attention to some of the small details just might have an impact on a close game this season

Watch the video to see a quick example, and then read below for additional content about this important part of running the bases!

 

As you noticed from the video, one of the key components of teaching your players about running through first base is to aim for hitting the front of the bag.

Here are some additional components to observe when coaching.

  1. Make sure that when they are hitting the base that they are staying “in stride. A common mistake is for players to take a “stutter-step” before they reach the base.  This will SLOW them down!
  2. It’s better for the player to hit the middle of the base on the last step and stay in stride than to take a “stutter-step” just to hit the front of the base.
  3. The more players practice this, the more natural it will become for them to hit the front of the base every time. 
  4. If you watch the video, you will notice the player takes 2-3 steps after hitting first base, and then begins to “break down.”
  5. The proper technique for “breaking down” is to take short, choppy steps while getting the feet wider than the shoulders…all while dropping the hips down low (see the video for a visual of this).

Fundamental #3: Rounding the Bases

In this tip on baserunning, I walk you through a few of the essential elements for teaching your players how to make an effective turn when rounding the bases.

Watch the video below and then read below the video for additional content on rounding the bases effectively!

As you saw from the video, there are two different types of turns that a player can make:

  1. Banana Turn: This is a turn where the runner knows well in advance that they will be rounding the next base. As a result, he/she gradually moves outside of the baseline to prepare themselves to round the base. Their path between the bases forms the shape of a “banana.”
  2. Question Mark Turn: This is a turn when the player has to make the decision to round the base late. When this happens they need to take a more drastic move on their turn. As a result, the path between the bases forms the shape of a “question mark.”

A couple of other key components, as are mentioned in the video, are to LEAN into the turn, and to try and hit the front of the base. This allows the player to get a good push off of the base.

The reason this skill is important for players to learn is that the result of a good turn will decrease the number of steps a player will need to make in between bases and allow the player to go straight into the next base.

For example, a poor turn around first base will result in the player swinging out well above the baseline between first and second. As a result, they will then have to bring themselves back down towards the base and take a lot of extra steps to do so.

A good turn, on the other hand, will allow they player to go more straight into second base and take fewer steps to get there (and get there more quickly as a result)!

Softball Technique #4: Baserunning Steal-Jumps

If you like to be aggressive and steal lot of bases, then you definitely need to spend some time on this area! Getting a good jump is often the difference of "safe" or "out" in a steal situation.

However, we are not going to cover this here.  We devoted an entire article about how to steal bases in softball.  You can learn more by going to that article. 

And here is a quick, but informative interview of a former Florida State player explaining some of these basics as well. 

Regardless of the level you coach, be sure to practice these fastpitch softball baserunning fundamentals this year! It may not all show up on the stat sheet directly, but it WILL make a difference on close plays! 

And possibly result in a few more wins!

(By Tim Covey, Founder of Covey Sports)

Have questions or comments? Leave them in the comments section below!


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