Getting a better jump on steals

Have you ever sat in the dugout watching a team loaded with kids with world class speed and wished your team could run that fast? You think boy, if we could run like that we’d be stealing bases all the time.

You actually don’t need that kind of speed to steal bases. We confirmed that this weekend when we tested out something my pal Rich and I learned at the NFCA Coaches College.

My team is not exactly gifted with speed. As a result, we tended not to attempt many steals. We’d either have to bunt, hit or wait for a wild pitch to advance a runner. But at the Coaches College, they suggested videoing your team while they tried to get off the base on a steal. (Obviously you do this during practice.) We did it, and even told our girls to try leaving early. Then we watched the video on my computer.

What we (and they found) was not only weren’t they on time, they were actually very late. It was no wonder we weren’t very successful. So now that they understood the timing, we worked on getting a better jump. Sure enough, this past weekend we were successful on roughly 7 of 9 steal attempts. The nine attempts probably was more than we tried all last year. It was an amazing turn around.

If you have access to a video camera, give it a try. You may find it opens a whole new level of offense for you. You don’t need to be fast. You just need to get going at the right time.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 11, 2009, in Baserunning, Team offense. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Rick Cartwright

    Marc Dagenais put speed & softball into several qualities, one being “the ability to get to full speed quickly”. I do have a fast team but found we had to put much work into the first three steps in any direction. Timing the pitcher is the icing on the cake. We have been experimenting with watching the heel of the pitcher’s drive foot, when it comes up, we go foward. I think the video is a great idea to confirm this. Any other suggestions for getting a good jump on things.

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  2. Anything you can do to get going quicker is helpful. When I played baseball I used to watch the pitcher’s feet. If the front foot on a righty lifted, that meant he was going to the plate and it was time to take off. (Learned that in a book about Ty Cobb, by the way.) The feet can be a good indicator for timing. Jay Miller, now coach of Team USA, said his philosophy is you’re either out at first (for leaving early) or safe at second. I will say getting a better jump gave us an increase in speed without an actual increase in speed!

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