Monday, October 12, 2009

College, High School, and Youth Fall Baseball: Base Stealing Practice

Since returning from coaching in the Cape Cod Collegiate Summer League, many baseball professionals have called me from head to assistant coaches affiliated with college baseball wanting  to discuss ways to teach base stealing effectively in their fall practices. Most of the coaches have read my new book “You Can’t Steal Second Base and Keep Your Foot on First!” or seen the presentation that my son Brian Roberts (Baltimore Orioles) and I gave at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in San Diego in January, 2009.
In the sport of baseball the fall months should be used to teach and teach and teach players how to improve their individual game and how to improve the collective team game. This is also true in all youth baseball leagues, high school fall leagues, and college programs.  Fall baseball is not a time for teams to concentrate on “winning a game” but a time for each player to “improve their game!”
Two coaches I have had extensive discussions with on base stealing are Rob Ramseyer, assistant coach at Mid-America Nazarene University in Kansas City, Missouri, who also coaches in the Alaska Summer Baseball League and Tim Corbin the head coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Rob is coaching at an NAIA program and Tim at an elite NCAA Division I program competing in the Southeastern Conference.
The schools are certainly different in number of students on campus, the size of the facility and the amount of money in their operating budget.  However; baseball is baseball, all players put their pants on one leg at a time, and similarly strive to improve their game.  Each program has a goal to play for a national championship in their division at the conclusion of the season.  As such, it is important that they equally focus on the same skills.
One of the best ways for a team to be more successful from game to game is to improve their base stealing. The base stealing game is always available to generate offense as long as someone gets to first base.  For example, at the conclusion of the opening game of the 2009 Cape League season,  the team I coach the Cotuit Kettleers only had 3 hits but we stole 7 bases and scored 4 runs. The base stealing game generated our offense and gave us a better chance of winning.
I encourage coaches to teach base stealing every practice in the fall.  The drills I use still to this day are all outlined in “You can’t Steal Second Base and Keep Your Foot on First!”   If you need more information please contact me via my website or email. I would be happy to discuss this passion of mine and want to support your coaching efforts.