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The "Take the Extra Base" Drill

This is an excerpt from Softball Drill Book eBook, The by Kirk Walker.

Purpose

To work on proper base-running techniques designated at each base while capitalizing on errors made by the defense or by simply challenging the defense by allowing runners to advance to the next base

Organization

Split up your team so you have an even number of players at home, 1B, and 3B. A coach stands on the mound to simulate the pitcher. Have one player stand in foul territory by 1B with a bucket of balls to simulate a throw getting away from the first baseman, and have another player stand on the foul side of 3B to simulate a throw kicking off the third baseman on an attempted pick-off from the catcher.

Execution

The coach simulates a pitch. The runner at home runs to 1B as if she has hit a base hit in the infield. She runs through the base and looks toward foul territory. The player with the bucket of balls rolls a ball toward the fence, and the runner takes off for 2B and hits her slide. At the same time, the runner at 1B has a hit and run on. This runner is trying to challenge the RF and the preciseness of her throw. She visualizes the ball hit behind her and picks up the coach at 3B, who’s waving her around and signaling her to slide or to stop on the base. The final component uses the runner at 3B. She takes a lead and acts as if the catcher throws down to pick her off. The runner dives back into the base with her head facing foul territory. She picks up the player standing in foul territory to see if this player tosses a ball off to the side to simulate a ball kicking off the glove of the third baseman. If so, the runner quickly gets up and scores. Run a circuit at least two or three times for each player at each base to have a good training effect.

Variations

You don’t need to have players standing off to the side. You can simply explain what each starting position represents, and players can visualize the ball being overthrown or being hit behind them or being tipped off the fielder’s glove.

Coaching Points

Trying to get players to think about situations in a game is critical. Make sure to reiterate to your players that they need to literally see the ball so that their reactions are more realistic and gamelike.

Take the Extra Bases