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What I Know and Remember About Baseball - First Base Reach

Oct 30, 2007
It is a tight game and the batter is a known bunter. Third and Second baseman are playing in on the grass in anticipation. The Pitcher delivers an inside fastball. Just as the Pitchers arm is ready to release the batter squares around and shows bunt.

Third base crashes down to gather up the ball which takes a funny hop to the infield away from his glove. Not a good bunt as the ball moves between third baseman and the mound. The batter is fast and is halfway to first when the third baseman finally gains control of the ball. As he grasps the ball the throw the runner is now one third of the way there. He launches a frozen rope to first.

The throw is off and low. Stretch into the splits the first baseman reaches and scoops the ball into his mit as the runners foot touches the bag. OUT, the umpire calls as the ball was in the mit before the runner reached the bag.

These are the exciting moments of baseball that get every ones heart racing. It happens in the brief moment between successfully hitting the ball and the seconds it takes to cover the distance from home to first.

Yet, how does the first baseman know when to stretch and how far? Most of all , how does he get there?

A newbie to the position will take a step towards the man with the ball before their release. True, making a step with the glove side foot is correct. However, the step is too soon as there is no information about the path of the ball to be caught.

Ideally a baseman will wait until the ball is released before take the step to the ball. From a comfortable position, feet should width apart, knees bent, heels off the ground, the baseman has plenty of time to make the appropriate stride to receive the ball. Being in a strong, athletic position gives the baseman the proper position to react as quickly as their body will allow.

To stretch before the ball is thrown puts the baseman in an non balanced position using weaker muscles. Think about it for a moment. Which is faster and under more control; standing and taking a step directly at the ball or being stretched out and lifting your forward foot off the ground to redirect your position.

Worse yet, if the ball is high, the baseman has almost no position or strength to make a jump to at least knock the ball down and keep it in the infield. It is a recipe for batter success to turn a tough single into a stand up double.

This method of tagging a bag can be applied to any base virtually 100 percent of the time where the baseman is to receive a throw for a force out. In all aspects of baseball, the greater the balance, the higher degree of success the player will have.

Remember, comfortable position, tag foot on the bag, step with the glove foot towards the throw after the ball is in the air, adjust as needed to receive the throw.
About the Author
Mr. Dowdy is the father of 3 and after re-entering competitive baseball with his oldest that lead to frustration of finding suitable glove, he became an Official Distributor for Kelley Athletic you can also click over to His Site for more news/tips/articles. Thanks for reading my article!
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