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Playing Second Base - Page 2

Ball Hit To Your Left (Assuming You Are Fielding It On Your Glove Hand Side)

On this ball that takes you away from where you are going to throw the ball, you will want to field the ball, plant your right foot, pivot to your left and throw the ball to second. It's important that you don't whirl and throw blindly back to second. After you have planted your right foot, turn your head and pick up your target prior to throwing the ball. If you have any doubt about having enough time to get the runner at second, just throw the ball to first and get the sure out. A wild throw that pulls the shortstop off of second and results in not getting an out, means you were rushing the play and probably should have just made the out at first. Physical errors will happen, but sometimes they are the direct result of a poor decision.

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Ball Hit To The Third Baseman Or Shortstop

With the ball hit to the left-hand side of the infield, you will most likely be the pivot man at second base. The only exception is when the shortstop is close enough to make the play unassisted. There are a number of ways for you to receive the ball and make the throw to first. Which method you use will be determined by the location of the throw and your position around the bag when the ball is on its way.

Straddle

One method is to straddle second base. You can use this method when you have gotten to the base quickly and the throw is on target. Position your feet on each side of second base and as you catch the ball you will take a short step with your left foot and throw to first. When using this method you are never really touching the base. Most umpires will not be in a position to notice and even if they did they most likely wouldn't call it. But, at lower levels such as little league, you never know. If you are concerned, either don't use this method or get in a habit of dragging your right foot over the bag as you follow throw with your throw.

The other problem with the straddle method is that it puts you in a vulnerable position as you are waiting for the ball. If the fielder drops the ball or has some other problem and you forget to move, you are exposed to taking a cleat in the side of your leg and if the slider comes up with his cleat your knee is in a vulnerable position to injury.

Youth Coaching Advice

For these reasons it's not recommended that young players use the straddle method. All second baseman need to be able to use the methods below, so have young players work on those pivots.

 

Left Foot

Another method is to use your left foot on second base. This method will allow you to go in any direction and get a good quick throw off. As you approach second base, breakdown your steps a few feet from the bag. This will allow you to time the actual step on second with your left foot and determine how your going to move off that foot.

There are a number of ways you can turn the double play from your left foot. Again, the location of the throw and when you arrive at second will determine what method you will use.

 

Right Foot

You will use your right foot on the bag when either the throw is to the left of the bag or you're late getting to the bag and the ball arrives before you. In the second case you will catch the ball on your way to second and when you get there you will step on the bag with your right foot, step toward first with your left and throw.

Low Throw

Occasionally the feed will be very low or in the dirt. This is a difficult ball to turn two on. Come across second base and try to catch the ball in front of the base. You will be acting more like a first baseman with this type of throw. In this situation you want to make sure you get the out at second.

Avoiding The Runner

With all the throws you make to first you have to always be aware of avoiding the runner that is coming at you. The first key to avoiding injury is to always point your left toe toward first when you make the throw. This will point your kneecap in the direction of the runner which is a less vulnerable position then having the side of your leg exposed.

The best method to avoid the runner sliding into second base is to hop on your left leg after making the throw and jumping over the oncoming runner. You'll often see second baseman who practice this hop whenever they practice turning the double play. Having confidence in your ability to get out of the way of a sliding runner will add to your confidence in turning a double play.


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