Baseball Magazine

The Four D’s of Defense – Part 1

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

If you listen to personal or home defense experts, you will probably hear about the four D’s of defense.  They are Deter, Detect, Delay, and Defend.  In Part 1 of this post I will quickly address all four.  In Part 2 I will expand on the last one in more detail.

As a baseball player or coach, you are well aware that a good defense involves being able to do numerous things well.  You have 9 guys on the field, at least one coach, and a few players on the bench.  Each person has a role to play in order to be the best defense possible.  As you know, quite a bit goes on to make that happen.  However, everything that goes into having a good defense falls into one of those four D’s of defense.

Not a lot of difference between these two

Not a lot of difference between these two

Deter.  To deter means to prevent someone from even trying.  In home defense, putting a home security sign in front of your house lets criminals know that your house probably would not be a good target.  In baseball, you have the ability to do the same thing.  One example is a great pre-game infield-outfield session.  When your team rocks during that session with strong accurate throws, backing up bases, great footwork, and overall enthusiasm, they are not just getting ready for the game.  They are (or should be) trying to deter the other team from even trying some of the offensive tricks in their bag.  A poor infield-outfield practice is just inviting the offense to attack your “home.”

Detect.  If the bad guys do find your house/team to be a good target for mischief, it’s always better to see them coming.  Waking up at 3AM to see a criminal standing next to your bed is not the optimal time to realize a crime is in progress.  Lots of outdoor lights, a dog that barks, and an alarm system are ways to help detect when the bad guys are coming.  All three buy you time.

Surprise on the baseball field doesn’t work so well either.  Players need to be taught the warning signs of when the offense might be up to no good.  Most of that centers around knowing what normal is and being able to recognize abnormal.  That requires a good awareness of what is going on around you.  Here’s an easy example.  A runner’s normal lead may be 6 feet off first base.  On one particular pitch he takes a 9 foot lead, gets lower in his stance, and has more focussed eyes.  It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see he is probably stealing on this pitch.  If you know what a team’s/player’s normal is, you can then better recognize abnormal and see their tricks coming in advance.

Also understand that everyone plays a role.  Coaches, players on the field, and especially players on the bench have a duty to pay attention in order to recognize the other teams’ abnormal.

Delay.  Some criminals are not deterred no matter what you do.  Even if you detect them early, they may be confident enough in their abilities to try.  That’s when delay is necessary.  Reinforcing doors and windows with better locks (and keeping them locked) helps.  Arranging furniture so the bad guys are not able to take a direct path to your bedroom is another way.  Both delay the bad guys so you have more time to get to a safe area and/or decide on a response.

In baseball, it could be as simple as calling time out or having the pitcher step off the rubber.  A pitcher could also come set and hold in that position for several seconds to force the runner who may be stealing to wait and possibly rethink his decision.

Bad guys (and base stealers) want to attack and they want to do it swiftly.  Delay them.  

Defend.  This forth D of defense needs a bit more explanation than just a few sentences which is why Part 2 will deal with this one on its own.  I’ll give you a taste though.  To defend means to take some kind of action.  You have tried to deter.  You hopefully have not been surprised through your detection skills.  You have built in some delay tactics.  But the bad guy comes anyway.  Now what do you do?  

Answer: You have to defend yourself.  

And that extremely important topic (and as you’ll see – MINDSET) is the topic for tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s post:  The four D’s of defense- Part 2

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