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Strategic Baseball Coaching Signs

Pick off play runner diving back to first base

Baseball coaching signs are often confusing for the youth baseball coach.

You know when we watch professional baseball games and the TV cameras pan into the dugouts.

The TV zooms in on the coaches and managers.

We see the coaches giving signs to the catchers and the thirdbase coach. Most of us watching assume that the coaches in the dugout are giving baseball coaching signs for the baseball catcher signs to call pitches for the catcher and pitcher.

WRONG. Rarely do professional baseball coaches call pitches for pitchers and catchers.

What the dugout coaches are really doing is calling for throw overs, pick off plays to first, hold the ball, slide steps and pitch outs.

All these baseball plays and baseball strategies are to help the defensive team neutralize the opponents running game. In other words, keep the opponents from stealing us blind.

Simple Baseball Tips for Baseball Signs

Baseball coaches giving signs

Since the first baseball game ever played baseball teams have been trying to steal bases. Until a team puts up a baseball strategy to slow down the opponents ability to steal bases then it is going to be difficult to keep baserunners out of scoring position (second and/or third base).

Professional baseball coaches know how important controlling the opponents running game is. Most college baseball coaches know the importance, too, in the college baseball game.

Youth baseball coaches really lack a baseball strategy to defend the running game. This is why I am sharing some helpful baseball plays, baseball signs and strategies about how to play baseball with concern with the running game defense.

When kids play a baseball game I would rather let the pitchers and catchers call their own pitches and have the coaches assist the players in calling baseball plays for pick offs and pitch outs during each baseball inning.

When, Where, Why & How to put on Baseball Signs.

Baseball Strategy with a Runner on Firstbase

pick off play runner avoiding tag

Youth baseball pitchers really do a lousy job of holding runners on first base.

First, the pitchers rarely throw over to first for a pick off attempt.

Second, when the pitcher does throw over to first base for a pick off play the baseball techniques is not correct. (I will address pick offs later in another baseball article).

Third, I cannot really blame the pitchers because of a lack of baseball coaching on the fundamentals and baseball game strategy. We need to take some responsibility to show pitchers how to play baseball by calling some baseball plays using baseball coaching signs (there is no such thing as baseball signals—a signal if at an intersection with a green, yellow and red light).

Baseball Tips from My Baseball Playbook

runner diving back to first base on pick off throw from pitcher

One of the top baseball plays is the catcher making a strong accurate throw to secondbase and nailing a would be base stealer with the tag. In order to successfully execute throwing out a baserunner many baseball fundamentals and baseball skills go into the baseball play.

First: The pitcher has to have fairly quick tempo during the pitching delivery.

Second: The pitcher has to polish their baseball skills for a good quick accurate pick off throw to firstbase.

Third: the catcher must be able to anticipate the runner stealing, catch the ball and get rid of the ball quickly and make a strong accurate throw to second base.

This is why I say that throwing out a would be base stealer at secondbase is a baseball top plays.

Pick Off Plays, Baseball Signs and Pitch Outs

old school runner diving back to first base on pick off throw

Let us go over some of the baseball strategies that I recommend for holding runners on firstbase and some the baseball signs for coaches that go along with the baseball plays.

5 Top Baseball Strategies to Hold Runners on Firstbase.

1. Pick off play to firstbase:A quick accurate pick off play is very helpful. A pitcher may not pick off many base runners but slowing down the ‘jump’ a base stealer gets increases the difficulty in stealing a base.

The baseball coaching signs I use are to put my hand nearest the backstop on my hip. A couple of decoy baseball hands signs with my free hand mean nothing. The catcher signs to the pitcher to throw over by making a fist and leaves the thumb out. This catcher sign tells the pitcher to take the stretch position and come to a full stop. Pause for a second or two or three and then pick off to firstbase.

From the bench I am focused on the reaction from the baserunner. If the runner flinches like they are going to steal then I can come back with a possible pitch out if the count allows for a pitch out play.

2. Step Back Play: The pitcher step back or step off play is effective too in seeing if the runner is leaning toward a steal attempt. After the pitcher takes the signs from the catcher they come to a stretch position and full stop. Make sure the runner has time to reach their full lead off and lock in.

Then very quickly and rapidly the pitcher steps back with their pitching rubber foot. The quick step off makes a would be base stealer flinch if they intend to steal.

If so, again you may counter with a pitch out or another pick off play.

The coaches signs I use are a slight swipe down my hip and a couple decoy signs with my other hand. The catcher signs motions the pitcher to step back with a backwards motion with the back of the hand.

3. Hold the Ball: Base stealers like to get a rhythm and a jump off the pitchers move to home plate. Another way to annoy the runner is to just hold the ball. Pitcher comes to the set position and just holds the ball for six or eight seconds.

Most of the time the batter will ask for ‘time’ from the umpire and step out of the box.

I sign the catchers by holding the side of my shirt while giving the decoy baseball coaching signs with my other hand signs.

4. Slide Step Pitching Delivery: If a pitcher can adapt their delivery to add a quickened pace and lessen the leg kick then a pitcher can use the slide step occasionally.

I would not use a slide step every pitch but once in awhile it is good because it makes stealing more difficult and quick pitches the hitter a little bit.

My coaching sign from the dugout to the catcher is a quick up and down motion with my hand signs on my side along with the 3 or 4 decoy signs with my other sign hand.

The catcher can hold heir hands and glove together momentarily before putting down the catchers’ signs which mean nothing.

5. Pitch Out Play: Youth baseball rarely if ever utilizes the pitch out play.

Why? I do not know why. The pitchout can be one of the top plays in baseball if used correctly. If a baseball team can develop a catcher that can get rid of the ball quickly and have a have way decent arm then teams can really shut down opponents running games.

Practice the pitchout every baseball inning on the last warm up pitch every inning. Rotate from lefty and righty hitters. Practice the pitch out during bullpen practice and baseball workouts.

Throw the pitch right through the opposite batters box about chest high. The catcher can get a really big head start on the throw to second base and usually without the batter swinging and bothering the throw.

I sign the catcher by touching my ear lob among other decoy signs. The catcher can use a fist or five fingers to sign the pitcher and the middle infielders.

Best Baseball Plays & Baseball Coaching Signs

Try using these youth baseball strategies and baseball coaching signsand see if your percentage of thrown out stealing increases. I guarantee your percentage will go up (if you have a decent catcher).

Thanks so much for visiting our site and sharing my baseball tips and learning how to play baseball with baseball coaching signs. I hope you come back by again and tell your fellow baseball folks about how to develop baseball players here.

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