The Ole Ball Game

Rundown or Pickle play

Photo Bill Stanton:

Photo Bill Stanton:

Robert asked: I was always taught to incorporate 4 players on the run down and to peel back to the bag you came from.

For instance with a runner on first caught leading off too far, the pitcher throws to first and the 1st baseman runs toward the 2nd base after him with 2nd baseman covering, 2nd base and SS backing him up.

Pitcher takes 1st base after 1st baseman throws to 2nd he peels off back to 1st and the pitcher takes his place. When the 2nd baseman runs the runner back to 1st base he throws to the pitcher and peels off back to 2nd base with the Shortstop taking his place.

This is how i was taught but questioned when trying to teach this at a 11u baseball practice.
Please weigh in. Thanks.

Rick answered: Robert, thank you for your question.

There is a page on my site covering baseball rundowns.

They are certainly an important part of team defense. There are 3 seperate schools of thought for how a team works their rundowns, the decision basically lies with what the coaches philosophy is on this subject.

I would say that you might find the rundown defenses work smoother if the players make their throw, then follow the ball and become the backup at that base. Much quicker to get into position on that end, rather than turning and going back to where they started.

While you always want to prepare for the worst case scenario, a solid goal for each rundown is to complete it with no more than 2 throws, preferably 1 or none.

Each time a throw is made, it requires a catch on the other end. The longer the runner is able to stay in the rundown, the better his odds are that he will be safe somewhere, and quite possibly pick up an extra base as well.

It does take 4 players in the set up. They can keep the pattern going for as long as it takes without any additional players.

Rundowns create moments of pure excitement when they occur. Having a solid plan for getting the runner out requires repetitions in practice to help build player confidence.

Good luck as you go forward.

Yours in baseball,


Comments for Rundown or Pickle play

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

May 09, 2017
Rundown after pick off at 3b
by: Anonymous

After the pitcher pics off the runner at 3rd Base he is taught to follow his throw. In that scenario does the first baseman immediately go home to be the backup at home plate? If so, does the right fielder come in to cover first base?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask The Baseball Coach.

Spalding, Old Time Bat Display

Louisville Sluggers. 1920's

Copyright© All Rights Reserved.
Copyright© All Rights Reserved.