The Ole Ball Game

~ Base Running: Delayed Steal Uses Element Of Surprise; A Great Equalizer! ~

Photo Bill Stanton

Start of delayed steal, secondary shuffles extended by one, then run

Base running, delayed steal provides all players on your team with an additional offensive weapon. It allows players with average to below average speed to gain an advantage and become a threat to steal when on first base.

The delayed steal is based on deception and the element of surprise, taking advantage of what the defense is giving you.

Base Running Tips From the Dugout

base running tips ~ from the dugout

3 Step Teaching Approach

  1. Teach the fundamentals and footwork needed.

  2. Teach the players the defensive keys. Base running with the delayed steal can be an important aspect of a teams' offensive game. When you teach the players what to look for, it provides them ownership in the process, with the added benefit of increased focus during games. One of the more fulfilling aspects of coaching youth baseball comes from seeing the players take control of all aspects of their game, based on what they have learned in practice.

  3. Teach the concept and why the delayed steal becomes an offensive advantage. At first, the delayed steal is a bit intimidating to the base runner, making them feel like they are left out in space. Understanding the concept behind this weapon helps alleviate these original fears, building player confidence.

Fundamentals And Footwork: Step One

  • The delayed steal is a one shuffle extension of your secondary lead. We use a two shuffle secondary, so the delayed steal becomes a 3 shuffle.

  • Teach the players to make the extra shuffle look the same, helping to maintain the element of surprise. As you first begin to teach this, base runners have a tendency to cut the third shuffle short, part of that initial uncomfortable feeling. As with all fundamentals, providing repetition drill time is a key.

Defensive Keys To Look For: Step Two

  • Middle infielders deep. They will have trouble getting to the bag.

  • Middle infielders do not move towards second base after every pitch. This is a regular occurance for some teams, which becomes your advantage.

  • Middle infielders look down at the dirt, or turn to the outfield after the pitch.

  • Catcher drops to his knees to return the ball to the pitcher.

  • Left handed pitchers with good moves to first base. If you are having trouble getting a jump, give the delayed steal a try and eliminate the pitchers' move.

The Concept: Step Three

  • The delayed steal is based on deception and surprise.

  • Takes advantage of something the defense is not doing and helps neutralize a left handed pitcher with a good move.

  • Provides your offense an opportunity to be a threat to steal with every player on your roster, regardless of physical speed. This keeps pressure on the defense, possibly leading to a mistake, while providing every player on the team the opportunity to contribute.

  • Much like the screen pass, shovel pass and draw play in football, the delayed steal uses deception to get the defense reacting to what they see, not what they have been taught. Good, full fundamental shuffles set this up!

Something truly satisfying happens to the players when they are able to recognize a weakness in an opponents' defense, using that weakness to gain an advantage, thus creating something positive for the offense.

The feeling becomes somewhat mystical when it is set up with pure and honest deception. The delayed steal is a terrific addition to a teams' offensive arsenal.

Additional Topics On This Fun, Yet Overlooked Part Of The Game

Base Running

What gravy is to Thanksgiving, the running game is to baseball.

Home To First

A full out sprint towards first base; REMEMBER, HUSTLE NEVER HAS A BAD DAY.

First To Second

Look immediately to the person giving the signs

First To Third

The runner needs to think "Coach ~ Base ~ Coach", for his reads.

Second To Third

The base runners first and foremost responsibility is to keep track of the baseball

Third To Home

For the base runner, this is the exception in leadoffs, as you lead off in foul territory

Stealing Second

As you step out into your lead, all these feelings intensify as you lock in on that one movement the pitcher is about to make, a movement that will send you speeding towards second base

Stealing Third

It is often easier to steal third base, than second

Special Plays

Plays designed to amp up your running game, catching your opponent off guard while creating pressure on the defense

25 Ways To Score

These 25 ways to score from third base are one reason teams work so hard at getting a runner to third base

return from baserunning delayed steal to

baseball on green grass

baseball american flag

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