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Coaches Tip of the Week#2 - Pitchers backing up bases:

Coaches, teach your pitchers to back up a base on all plays. There is no play in baseball where players should be standing around after a base hit.

You have to reinforce this because sometimes a pitcher will hang his head when he gives up a hit and he won't hustle to the spot where he should be. Little League coaches have your pitchers go the correct position after a base hit with a runner on second. I know many coaches use their pitchers as the cut-off, but that's not the correct way to teach the game. Forget the fact that most Little League pitchers are the best athletes on the field. Teach them the game the way it is supposed to be played and get your other players involved. The proper position for this play is behind the plate, as deep as possible and directly in line with the throw. Use the third and first basemen for cutoffs on throws to the plate. The position is on the infield grass in line with the throw and the catcher. If a ball is hit to the right of the shortstop, the third baseman is the cutoff man. The first baseman is the cutoff on all other throws.

Here are a pitcher's responsibilities for backing up bases:
 
  • - Single to left or center field with no one on base- backs up second base in direct line with outfield throw.
  • - Single to right field with no one on base- a pitcher's first reaction should be to hustle to first base in case of a play there.
  • - Single to the outfield with a runner on first base- backs up third base in line with the throw from the outfield.
  • - Single to the outfield with a runner on second base and trying to score- backs up home in direct line with the throw.
  • - All extra base hits with no one on base backs up base where ball is thrown.
  • - Extra base hit with a runner on first base- becomes a floater. The pitcher should hustle to a spot halfway between third and home and then back up the base where the ball will be thrown. This play should be drilled in practice. It takes some timing and skill.
 

Pitchers should always hustle with controlled speed (being under control helps you to react at the proper time.) to their backup positions. They should get as deep behind the base as they can and still be in line with the throw. Remember that if a ball rolls into the dugout, the runner gets an extra base. The pitcher must try to prevent this. Pitchers, get out of the infield on all possible plays at the plate. You are clogging things up. Be where you are supposed to be. Proper back ups by the pitching staff will save you a run or two in the course of a season. These are some more of the 'little things' that win close games.

Courtesy of Baseball-Excellence.com