Courtesy of QCBASEBALL.COM
Every Player Can Be Good At Running The Bases - Hustle is Mandatory!!!!
Good teams are often judged on their ability to manufacture runs. What this means is they didn't string together enough hits (or any hits for that matter) to score a run. An example would be a hitter reaching on a walk, stealing second base, going to third on a ground out hit to second, and scoring on a fly ball. In this case a run was scored without the aid of a base hit. Other skills are important in a teams ability to manufacture runs, but one thing for sure, poor baserunning will inhibit a teams ability to manufacture runs on a regular basis. Worse than that, poor baserunning will take your team out of scoring opportunities. There may be no worse feeling in baseball than being picked off a base or making a mental baserunning mistake. There is no where to hide when this happens and it can be a long walk back to the dugout.
You may consider yourself a base stealing threat every time you get on base, or maybe you look for certain situations to take an extra base. Whatever your running ability, your value as a baserunner is important to your team.
Know The Value Of Your Run
As a baserunner you always need to be aware of the value of your run. This is dependent on the game situation and your ability. Your strategy on the bases will be different depending on the inning and the score. Have you seen a player being picked off first base when their team is down by 4 or 5 runs? It can be the nail in the coffin for the team. It's a mental error and should never happen, but it does, even at the major league level. This next section will cover many of the fundamentals necessary to be a good baserunner.
Baserunning - Home To First (One of the most important for younger players)
Getting Out Of The Box
Regardless which side of the plate you hit from, your first step out of the box is a crossover step. Drive out of the box as if you were stealing a base. Get in the habit of getting out of the box quickly; this helps you at the close play at first and may just turn that long single into a double.
As you take your first couple steps, pick up the ball. Assume there will be a play at first base on any ball hit on the ground or on a line. Once you know where the ball is heading, focus in on where you are going.
Run Every Ball Out! Hard!
Few players in the Majors run out every ball. As with many things in the big leagues, it may okay to do it when you get there but you shouldn't do it when you're working to get there. Lead by example, run every ball out and run it out hard. It doesn't matter if it's a slow roller to the pitcher or a pop fly to the center fielder, get your legs going and hustle down the line.
Run Through First Base
Once you've determined that the ball is going to be fielded by an infielder, focus on the front part of first base. As you hit the base, start breaking down. This gives the illusion to the umpire that you were at the bag sooner than if you breakdown after you pass the base. After you have crossed the base, slow down and look to your right to see if there was an errant throw.
Take A Turn
If the ball is going to make it past the infield, get ready to round first base. Do this by moving off the line and into foul territory to set yourself up for the turn at first. Try to hit the inside corner of the bag. Be aggressive with your turn, put pressure on the outfield to field the ball cleanly and make a good throw. There's a fine line between being aggressive and being stupid. Put yourself in position to take advantage of any mistakes but don't get caught being too far off the base.
Drill: Relay Race
This is a good conditioning drill and helps players work on making good turns when taking extra bases.
Split your team into 2 equal squads. Have half the team at home and half at second.
Have the first player in line start with the ball in his hand.
On your signal each team will start running around the bases. After each player runs around the bases, he will hand the ball to the next player. First team to get all players completely around wins.
To add a level of difficulty and decision making, use tennis balls and let the players throw the ball to the next player anytime after he has rounded the last base.