Baseball Strategy

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Baseball Strategy: Winning Without Great Hitting  


Every coach loves to have a team that is loaded with players who can hit the ball well.  Unfortunately, a coach is unlikely to have such a team every year.  What separates the good coaches from the great ones is how they go about combating this type of situation in their lean years.  One excellent way of doing so is to implement small ball.  Small ball is essentially using bunting and base stealing to manufacture runs. It can be very effective for teams that do not have a lot of hitting power. How to implement this Baseball Strategy for your team?:


1.       Talk to your team about the importance of the strategy.  Have a candid talk with your team about the importance that bunting and base stealing will have on the success of their season.  Be very direct in telling them that they do not have the same amount of hitting ability as some other teams and so the team will need to compensate.  Remember that high school players have egos and that they do not want to hear that they are not a great hitter.  Therefore be sure to go out of your way to give praise to the players who perform bunting and base stealing properly to engender support for this Baseball Strategy.    Put the emphasis on winning and not baseball hitting averages. 


2.       Allocate time at each practice to practice sacrifice and suicide bunting.  The main difference is that suicide bunting requires the hitter to try to bunt the ball regardless of where the pitch is thrown.  Suicide bunting occurs when you have a base runner on third that will be running to home plate as the pitch is delivered.  


3.       Recommend speed training to your players.  Provide them with a list of instructors in the area that focus on improving the speed of baseball players and also focus on base stealing.  This will prove helpful in not only base stealing, but also in general base running. 


4.       Apply the baseball strategy with runner on 1st.    In each game once a base runner gets on first and there are less than two outs, you should condition the team to expect to either (a) have the runner steal second base, (b) have a hit and run, or (c) require the next batter to sacrifice bunt the runner over to third. Regardless of which option is used, the goal is to get the batter into scoring position at second with at least one out to spare.


5.       Apply strategy with runner on third.  In each game once a runner is at third base and there are less than two outs, condition the team to expect to (a) do a sacrifice bunt or (b) a suicide bunt (suicide squeeze).    


If you are able to implement these steps successfully, your team will be able to compensate for a lack of solid hitting.  One thing to keep in mind: remember this baseball strategy can also be used against your team.  Therefore, it is also a good idea to drill defensively on how to handle bunting and base stealing when the other team uses these strategies.  


My own team would use a strategy of calling out numbers to let the infield know who would be charging the batter on a sacrifice bunt and who would be covering the bag. The numbers used would apply to the relevant position: 3= the first baseman, 5= the third baseman, and 1= the pitcher.  Therefore, if the catcher called out the number 13, and the batter turned for a sacrifice but, the first baseman would charge down the first base line and the pitcher would cover the third base line.  In the alternative, if the catcher called the number 15, the pitcher would charge the 1st base line and the third baseman would charge the 3rd base line.  By repeatedly practicing this baseball strategy, your team will automatically do these correctly in a game. 


*For strategies on adjusting your hitting order, check out strategy for baseball batting lineups


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