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First Third Double Steal ~ Shut Em Down With Confidence!

the ultimate defensive goal, keep the run from scoring

The first, third double steal is one of the most exciting plays in baseball.

As soon as the runner breaks from first base, an amazing sequence of events begin to unfold.

The outcome of the play will be determined by the speed and confidence with which each team goes about it's skills.

A much simpler play for the offense to execute, the defense must be near perfect to neutralize what the offense is attempting to do.

Let's look inside this situation and see what it takes defensively, to shut it down.






A Look Inside The Offensive Thought Process For This Play

The reasons for using the double steal vary as the game situation changes.

What they can accomplish:


  • Score the runner from 3B, on the catcher's throw to 2B.


  • Steal 2B, putting a second runner in scoring position.


  • Take away the double play by swiping 2B.


  • Demoralize the defense, by scoring one, or two runs, without ever putting the ball in play.




What Does The Defense Need To Prepare For?

Back in the 80's, NFL films did a special on coaches. In one of the segments they had a running bunch of sound bites, where coaches were yelling instructions out to players on the field.

All from random games, they started with one coach yelling watch for the draw, then another watch for the screen, yet another watch for the bomb. After 8 to 10 of these instructions, the last coaches comment was, watch for everything!

That is exactly what the defense needs to do to stop the first third, double steal ~ Watch Everything!

A list of what the offense can send your way:


  • Straight steal of second, runner on third holds or runs.


  • Delayed steal of second, runner on third holds or runs.


  • stopping short to create rundown

    Runner on first gets a jump and goes, stopping short of 2B to create a rundown situation, attempting to score the runner from 3B.





    extended lead to draw a pickoff throw

    Extended lead to draw a pickoff throw, then runner goes hard to second. Runner on third attempts to score on the long throw from the first baseman to the shortstop.




  • Runner at first base breaks early, hoping to create a balk. If the pitcher steps off and runs at him, he tries to get the pitcher to throw to the shortstop, as the runner on third tries to score on that throw.


  • Both runners break simultaneously as the ball touches leather on the pitcher's stretch. Run most often against left handed pitchers.




We Know What The Offense Can Do ~ How Does The Defense Stop Them?

The secrets to defending this situation are decisiveness and confidence.

Confidence is achieved from having an organized plan to handle all the possibilities within this situation that may arise.

Acting decisively is a by-product of quality repetitions in practice, against those very same possibilities.

When the offense runs it in a game, the repetitions taken in practice will allow the players to act quickly and decisively to neutralize the threat.



First And Third Double Steal Tips ~ From the Dugout

first and third double steal tips ~ from the dugout


  • Create the mind-set in the players that they are getting an out somewhere.


  • Be aggressive, it neutralizes the offense's advantage.


  • Communication between players is essential, to include those in the dugout. When they see the runner or runners break, they should be yelling "runner".


  • The 3B needs to yell if the runner from third breaks, it helps alert the cutoff to make the cut.


  • Any runner caught up between bases needs to be forced to move somewhere, immediately. The longer that runner can hold the defense's attention, the better chance there is a defensive mistake will occur.


  • Pitchers, if the runner from 1B goes early, step back and check the runner at 3B, turn and get the ball to the shortstop quickly. The SS can work the rundown and see the runner at 3B at the same time.


  • As the catcher comes up to throw, he always needs to turn his head and look at the runner at 3B. It is all one continuous motion as he continues on with his throw to 2B. Failure to look provides the runner at third with a key to leave early, a jump that cannot be overcome even with two strong arms on defense.


Success Is Not The Absence Of Problems But The Ability To Deal With Them Successfully!



First Third Double Steal Diagrams

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