Baseball Magazine

Tips on Diving Back to First Base

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Tips on diving back to first baseThe photo to the right shows a runner properly diving back to first base on either a pick-off by the pitcher or an after-the-pitch pickoff attempt by the catcher.  Either way, the process of diving back to the bag is the same.  I’ll make a future video demonstrating all this but for now, let’s list in writing some of the details of correctly diving back to first base.

Dive to the outfield-side corner of the bag.  A base is 15 inches wide.  Diving to the outfield-side corner forces the fielder’s glove and ball to travel an additional 15 inches in order to tag the runner out.  Additional space to travel equals more time for the runner to get back.  For a video showing where your feet need to be on a lead in order to accomplish this outfield-side dive, click HERE.

Reach with your right hand.  Reaching for the outfield-side corner of first base with your right hand allows your body to also be on the outfield side of first base.  Reach with your left and your body will shift to the middle of the baseline making it easier and quicker for the first baseman to tag you.

Left arm out to the side.  Runners should never dive back to first base Superman style with both arms extended.  Placing the left hand out to the side at chest level allows the runner to push with that hand on the dive to get the right hand to the bag quicker.  It also will help the runner get up faster should the ball get away from the first baseman.  

Look to the left.  The runner in the photo is not doing this but runners should get into the habit of looking to the left on their dive.  This protects their face from thrown balls and tags and also allows them to better see a ball that gets past the first baseman on bad throws.

As with anything else in the game, there are a lot of little things that go into successful base running.  Diving back to first base is no exception.  Baseball is a game of inches so pay attention to the details of diving back to first and get those inches to work in your favor.  

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