Baseball Magazine

You Do NOT Run a Question Mark to First Base

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

When I do coaching clinics, one of the more humorous things I will do is ask a question like the following…

Raise your hand if, as a young player, you were told to get your back elbow up higher when you hit?”  All the hands naturally go up.  Including mine.  The crowd gets a laugh when I then say that the “elbow up” concept is a total myth.

The same thing happens when I ask about the famous “question mark route” to first base.  Here is the visual of what we were all taught.


Once again, it’s a myth.

When a player is running full speed down the first base line, there is no way he will be able to make a sharp right-hand turn and then immediately do a sharp left-hand turn in order to hit the inside corner of the bag.  It just doesn’t work at full speed.  If the runner does not significantly slow down to do those sharp turns then he will fall flat on his face.

Here’s a visual showing the correct way to do it.  


As soon as the batter knows that his batted ball will get into the outfield (yes, good runners watch the ball as they run), he should run straight for the first base coach’s box.  When he reaches the farthest spot away from the line (the RED star), he then MUST drop his left shoulder to proceed to the inside part of the bag.  If he doesn’t drop his shoulder, he will veer too far out towards right field on his turn and take a longer path to second base.

Note: If you want a more specific explanation of where exactly to touch any base’s corner, click HERE.

Baseball is a “game of inches.”  Knowing the finer points of base running will gain a player MANY inches even when his running speed stays the same.

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