Baseball Magazine

The Suicide Squeeze - Part 3: The Timing

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
I mentioned in Part 1 that I believe the suicide squeeze to be a great weapon for an offense because it is almost impossible to defend against once the play is in motion.  The biggest reason for this is the timing involved.  If both the runner and the batter time their actions properly, all the defense will be able to do is just hope the batter misses the pitch, pops it up, or bunts it foul.
The importance of the timing involved is why I have dedicated a separate part just on this aspect of the suicide squeeze.

The Suicide Squeeze - Part 3: The timing

When the hands separate, the runner takes off
and the batter squares.

When it comes to the timing of the play, the key is to start putting everything into motion at a time at which the defense is unable to alter their actions.  Start the process too early and the defense will have more time to react and defend the play.  Start too late and both the batter and runner will have a tougher time accomplishing their responsibilities.
Timing the play properly all starts with watching the pitcher and putting things into motion at some pre-defined spot in the pitcher's delivery.  Coaches may differ on what they want their players to key on but the point is the same.  Pick a spot in the pitcher's delivery where once he gets to that spot, he will be unable to alter his pitch to home plate.  Here is the rule that I teach my players:
Both the runner and the batter do not start the squeeze process until the pitcher separates his hands. 
 At this point in the pitcher's delivery he is committed to throwing whatever pitch was called for.  He will be unable to change his grip or the location of the pitch.  If a runner takes off or if the batter squares prior to the hands separating, the pitcher will have more time to take those actions to try and prevent the squeeze from being successful.  Starting too long after the hands separate will make it easier for the defense to field the bunt and cut down the runner trying to score.  This is because the runner will be farther from home plate when the ball is bunted.  Starting too late usually doesn't provide the batter enough time to get into the proper bunting position as well.
When it comes to the timing involved, players almost never start too late.  The opposite is usually the case.  The pressure to perform in this do-or-die play usually results in an increase in anxiety for both the runner and the batter.  From the time the signal is given to the time to ball is bunted, both hearts are beating a mile a minute.  This usually causes either the runner or the batter (or both!) to "jump the gun" and start the play too soon.  Frequently practicing the timing of the suicide squeeze is essential to getting the players involved to keep their emotions under control and adhere to the proper timing needed for success.
Part 1:  The why's and when's of the suicide squeeze.Part 2:  Giving and receiving the squeeze sign.Part 3:  Timing for the batter and the runner.Part 4:  The mechanics of the bunt.Part 5:  The bench.Part 6:  Defending the squeeze play

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