The Ole Ball Game

What position would suit me?

Holding Runner

Holding Runner

Anonymous asked: Hi,

First of all, I really enjoy your site. It's been super helpful!

Question: I've been following baseball for a while and have decided to start playing for an amateur team.

I'm 6 ft tall and about 200 lbs. Before I used to played football (WR) and ice hockey (goal keeper) but don't have any baseball experience. With my previous experience I'm good at catching and I'm fairly quick, although I've lost a step during the last couple of years. Throwing is not my strongest side but I'll work hard on it.

I understand that it's hard to say just by reading some short information and that trying different positions is the best way of knowing. But I would really appreciate your opinion.

Also, if you have any good batting and throwing exercises that I can do alone, without too much space required, that would be awesome!


Rick answered: Thank you for your question!

I am glad the site has been helpful for you.

Based on your previous athletic experience, I would suggest taking a run at first base, as a starting point.

Quite often you hear comments like anyone can play first base; nothing could be farther from the truth.

Playing first base requires an athletic individual.

While players at the college and professional level are certainly more accurate throwers, at the youth and amateur levels, throws can be an adventure at best.

The abilities of a team's first baseman can make, or break your infield, and/or your team.


  • Holding runner on.

  • Fielding bunts

  • Getting off the bag quickly as the pitch is delivered, so there is less of a hole between first and second.

  • Pickoff plays from the pitcher and catcher, as well as a working knowledge of where to play based on the game situation.

  • The ability and willingness, to pick balls in the dirt is essential. When a team is able to locate an individual who thrives on this aspect of the game, they have a terrific start. Not everyone is willing, or able, to develop this essential skill.

Work on your footwork around the bag. Being comfortable in making adjustments to off line throws, in the dirt or air mailed throws. On any given throw, you may have to adjust to up the line, down the line, or across the line.

Anticipate a bad throw, the good ones will be easy.

Get to the bag quickly and set up, with both heels against the inside of the base, so that you can adjust to any throw.

Quickly get off the bag and into a fielding position as the pitcher delivers the pitch.

Constantly communicate with the pitcher, remind him he is coming to first base on balls hit to the right side.

Tell him when you will be playing behind the runner.

Anticipate bunt situations and key on the hitter's top hand. When it starts up the bat, he is looking to bunt. At first base you are at a starting disadvantage, as you have to stay and hold the runner until the pitcher starts to the plate. If you leave early, there is no one to keep the runner from running.

Since you have athletic experience as a WR, catching a baseball should come naturally. It is all about soft hands and tracking the ball all the way into the glove.

Your hockey goalie experience should serve you well in blocking and catching balls in the dirt.

Number one defensive rule at first base, play the ball first, the base second. If the ball gets past you, more times than not it means an extra base or two for the runner, depending on the amount of foul ground territory there is.

You can practice becoming comfortable with the footwork in your backyard or living room.

Fold up a towel and put in on the ground or floor. Move out from the towel, visualize a ground ball hit to another infielder, get to the bag and set up, visualize any type of throw you want, adjust you feet to make that catch.

Next level, go outside with it, and add someone to toss you various throws as you make the foot adjustments.

When your comfortable, take it to the field and go live at a short range, working up to having someone make throws from the various positions and angles.

It is all about being comfortable moving your feet, keeping your throwing side foot on the bag, all while tracking the ball into your glove.

You can work picks the same way. Set up and have someone toss you balls in the dirt. You are looking to get your glove out and down, coming up and through the ball.

Hitting Drills:

1. Tee into a net.

2. If you can get to a field, hit off tees out into field. Gives you an idea where the ball is going.

3. There is a ball called a "smush ball", great for hitting drills. Indestructible, soft and don't go so far that you spend all your time shagging baseballs.

4. Tossing a baseball up and hitting it is a good drill. If something will go wrong in the batter's box, it will go wrong when you throw it up to yourself and hit it. You can get a lot of swings this way by yourself; but it requires space.

Below is a hitting link on the site, which will help with what to look for in the balls you are hitting.


Throwing is development of a process, for the best results. I would recommend you look at the link below for some tips on mechanics, then it becomes a process of working on those mechanics every time you throw with someone.

Throwing Advanced.

I would be interested to hear how things are going for you. Depending on your location and situation, there are unlimited options for drills to work mechanics. Just like any sport, the drills create the skills you take into the games. Time and correct repetitions.

With some additional information, I can provide you with a detailed plan for where you would like to go.

Good luck as you go forward!

Yours in baseball,


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May 11, 2013
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

This was an absolutely awesome answer, thank you very much.

I've had the opportunity to go to a few practices now and I'm really enjoying. We still haven't come to a stage where we have set positions but in game situations I've been trying to get on first base.

So far my fielding/catching skills is my best asset by far. But throwing has definitely improved with better technique and I'm probably batting around average in the team (it's a beginners team, half of the team has no previous experience and half has a little).

Once again, thank you for your answer!

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