Base Running 1: Rules of Thumb for Running Bases

Here are some rules of thumb for base running that will keep you from making major mistakes that hurt the team and will help you run bases like a pro.
Rules of thumb for good base running

Doug Bernier (author) on takes his lead from 1st. Image by Frank Lauri.

1. Don’t make the 1st or 3rd out at third base

  • If you stop at 2nd with no outs, the hitter can move you up to 3rd with one out so you can score multiple different ways without needing a hit.
  • If you stop at 2nd with 2 outs, you are still in scoring position, and you basically need a hit to score you whether you are on 2nd or 3rd.

2. Use the third base coach on plays you can’t see

  • Base running situation: You’re on 1st and the batter hits a single to left center field.  If you can see the ball the whole way, then you can decide whether or not to advance to 3rd on your own.
  • If you are a runner on 1st and there is a single hit to right field, that is when we look for some help from the 3rd base coach.  He is our eyes when we lose sight of the baseball.

3. Don’t get doubled off first base

As a runner on first, don’t ever get doubled up on a line drive to 3rd or shortstop.  In other words, be able to get back to first if the line drive gets caught.  There is no reason to be too aggressive on this play.  Even if the ball gets through the infield you will have to stop at 2nd anyway because the left fielder is there to hold you at 2nd.

In the heat of the game you don’t have time to ask questions, so it is expected that you know these rules of thumb.

I hope this article is helpful for you.  I invite you to ask questions or leave feedback in the comments section below.  For more base running tips, check out the articles below.

More on tips for Running Bases:

About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger's AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

1 Comment

  1. Before any of this, base runner should check to see where outfielders are positioned. This will help them to be more decisive. Often overlooked detail.

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