Baseball Magazine

Make Him Stop!

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Make him stop!

One of these days I will make a lengthy video or a series of videos on how to hold runners on base. It would require a lot of work because there are so many little things that have to be done by multiple players simultaneously that I could not do it justice in just one or two posts.
That being said, there are a few concepts that can have a big effect on an opposing teams' ability to steal (or an inability to steal) bases. One of them is to make all runners stop!

"Make him stop" is a common phrase coaches shout out to their players on the field when they notice opposing runners taking walking leads at second base and/or third base. A walking lead is when a runner starts by taking his normal lead off the bag. When the pitcher comes to a set position, however, the runner continues moving by walking forward towards the pitcher (which actually lengthens his lead slightly) or continues to move slowly towards the next base. When this happens, the runner(s) can dramatically increase their ability to steal the base.

Isaac Newton's Law of Motion states that "a n object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion." In short, that means a runner will make it easier on himself if he can stay in motion and simply turn his walking lead into a sprint. On the flip side, it's harder for runners to get good jumps when they start from a stationary position.

This is why it is imperative that pitchers and fielders make runners stop before the pitch is delivered to home plate. They have to stop the runner's momentum so he has to start running from a stationary position.

This is best accomplished when the pitcher pays attention to (looks at!) the runner after coming set and reacts accordingly. If the runner stops, the pitcher can deliver the pitch. If the runner is still taking his walking lead, the pitcher SHOULD NEVER deliver the pitch. He should either wait until the runner stops before delivering or just step off the rubber.

Of course, the middle infielders play a role in this too. If they notice that a runner on second is taking a walking lead then they should step up their jockeying around the bag to get him to stop or immediately tell the pitcher to step off. Pickoff plays and fake pickoffs (spin move works best - watch this video on that) can be useful too.

The important thing is for pitchers, middle infielders, and coaches to always notice when runners are doing this and work together to immediately put a stop to it.

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