Stealing 3rd Base
Brandon Laird looking to steal 3rd base. Image by Frank Lauri
Why stealing 3rd base is usually easier than stealing 2nd base
- First of all, the pitcher usually has slower times to home plate when there is a runner at 2nd compared to a runner at 1st.
- Your lead is usually a little bigger at 2nd than at first base.
- You are most likely not stealing from a dead stand still, you usually have some momentum going before you steal third base, allowing you to get to top speed quicker.
- Usually middle infielders aren’t very comfortable or proficient at holding runners close to 2nd base.
These factors are why stealing third is usually easier than stealing 2nd base.
Once we get our initial lead of 10-15 feet in the baseline between 2nd and 3rd base we start to get a read on the pitcher.
We should have noticed any tendencies a pitcher has by now.
- We are usually looking for the number of looks a pitcher makes toward the runner at 2nd base.
- Many times pitchers fall into a rhythm. For example a pitcher may look back at the runner once and then pitch the ball every time.
- Maybe a pitcher will hold the ball for the same amount of time before he pitches the ball. This is another tendency we can take advantage of.
Doug Bernier takes his lead using a shuffle step as he gains momentum for stealing 3rd base.
– Why Momentum Matters. When it comes to stealing 3rd base, it is almost impossible for a runner to steal third base from a stand still unless he is really, really fast.
This is true because the catcher has a shorter throw to make (than to second) and he can get a lot of momentum going to third base and make a really strong throw. Therefore, in order to steal third base, you need to do it on the pitcher – because the catcher may make the play close.
– Using Shuffle Steps. So, when stealing 3rd base, we are trying to get a shuffle step going toward third base before the pitcher makes a move home.
In a perfect world, we would like our right foot hitting the ground after we just completed our one shuffle step when the pitcher starts making his pitch toward home. We can use our momentum and the ground we gained toward third base to give us a big advantage in stealing 3rd base.
If our timing of the shuffle step is off, or we are getting too far away from the bag and you are not feeling comfortable, shut it down and try on the next pitch.
One last word of advice…
When it comes to stealing bases, confidence is huge. If you are not sure don’t go. You can’t be timid if you are trying to steal bases, if you get a chance to go, and you are looking for it, take it.
More on Base Stealing and Base Running: