First Base Tips and Instruction

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First Base Tips, Technique, and Strategy 

On this page, you’ll find articles containing first base tips, including baseball fielding instruction for the critical skills that a first baseman needs to master.  Proper defensive technique at 1st base will improve your game and inspire confidence in your teamates.  A quality 1st baseman can take away errors from his fellow infielders, take away hits from the opposing team and just give his infielders a lot more confidence.

Click on the red links to get the step-by-step breakdown for each skill, as well as some advanced fielding tips to help you take your game to the next level.

Specific Skills for 1st Basemen

1. Holding Runners on 1st BaseIs only applicable when there is a runner at first base only or at 1st and 3rd. When there are runners at 1st and 2nd base, or bases loaded, you will usually play behind the runner at 1st, but you will not hold the runner on at 1st.
2. Throws To 2nd BaseThere are two different positions you would be throwing from when making your feeds to second base. You are either holding the runner on 1st, or you are playing behind the runner (certain situations, or runner at 1st and 2nd, or bases loaded).
3. Footwork At 1st BaseProper footwork can make your navigation around the bag a lot easier. This will aid in where your feet should be on the base and how to set up your body on all throws from the infield.
4. Flips To 1st BaseAfter a ground ball is hit your way and it’s a little too far for you to touch the bag yourself, you need to flip the ball to the pitcher. There are a couple different ways to complete this play. Underhand and overhand flips.
5. Knock The Ball Down1st base is a position where you have a lot of time to make the play. When in doubt on any ground ball, use your body to keep the ball close to you, so you can gather yourself and finish the play.
6. Picking Balls In The Dirt This is a play that can instantly turn you into the most popular guy on the team when you can pick an errant throw out of the dirt. This takes skill and a lot of work, and the drills (link) for working on this is probably going to be your main practice. A couple first base tips to give you the best chance to dig any ball out of the dirt.

Critical Skills for Infielders

7. Free Diagnostic Tool:  [Quiz]  What type of Infielder Are You?
Knowing your “Infielder Type” is huge key to unlocking your full potential, because it reveals the sneaky problems that are blocking your infield success  (hint – it’s NOT the same for everyone)   
This free tool was developed by Defensive Specialist, former MLB infielder Doug Bernier, to help infielders figure out what’s holding them back.  Once these issues are identified and a plan for success is in place, most infielders can finally see rapid improvement.
7. Fielding Tips and InstructionWhether you want professional tips to fine-tune your game, or basic instruction on fielding mechanics, click here to learn how to consistently secure routine ground balls and make outs.

  1. The Pro Infielder’s Secret
  2. Routine Ground Balls
  3. Backhand Plays
  4. Forehand Ground Balls
  5. Plays on-the-run, and slow rollers

If you can show that you are a strong defensive player you will be wanted to be on the field when the game is on the line. Everyone loves offense, but pitching and defense win games.

8. Throwing MechanicsThrowing the ball around the infield is the second part of making plays. After we field and secure the ball we need to be able to throw it to the base that will give us an out.How to Throw a Baseball:

  1. Grip
  2. Mechanics of Throwing
  3. Feet Position, Upper Body and Feel

Being able to throw properly takes work, but with a few basics for throwing correctly you will be able to increase arm strength and accuracy – of which accuracy is more important.

9. Cut-Off fundamentals
How to be in the best position possible for taking a throw from an outfielder as a cut off man. Where to align yourself and how to make the quickest, most accurate throw possible.
10. Rundowns or “Pickle”
How to do a rundown or pickle. Rundowns are when you have a base runner caught in between two bases. There are many must do’s when trying to get the runner out as quickly as possible with the least amount of throws

Positioning for 1st Basemen

11. Infield in, No Doubles, and other First Base Positioning
Where is double play depth, infield-in, no doubles, and standard infield positioning? Situational positioning for first basemen. Includes diagrams and pro tips for first basemen.
12. Relay Positioning: Part 1
The 1st baseman’s role and positioning for balls thrown from outfield to home plate, or cut-off for a play at 3rd base.
13. Relay Positioning: Part 2, Double Cuts This article discusses the following: What is a double cut relay? What is the first baseman’s role in each scenario, and particularly for every ball hit to an outfielder where there is a potential play at home plate? Includes diagrams for clarity.
14. Pop Fly PrioritiesEveryone needs to know the chain of command so players won’t be fighting over who will catch a pop up – or having dangerous collisions. Visit this page to learn who the first baseman can call off and who you should defer to when a high pop fly is hit, as well as some other important protocols you will be expected to know.

Strategy and Game Preparation

15. Communication and Defensive StrategiesHow to communicate with other players around the infield to let them know what pitch is coming or who is covering what base. Also, a few strategies to be in the best position to make plays and to use the field to your advantage.
16. Pregame Fielding RoutinesHaving a prepared routine that you can do everyday that will prepare you for the game. Defensive routines do the same thing as offensive routines, by using physical actions to get physically and mentally ready. Believing in yourself and trusting the work you do will go a long way.
17. Pre-game mental preparationDoing your homework before every game, to increase your awareness of what may happen throughout the game. From knowing your pitchers game plan for that night, to who can run on the other team, and knowing which hitters have certain tendencies that can be used against them during the game.
18. Know the Baseball FieldIn a game where split second decisions matter, the slope of the foul line, speed of the infield, and other such factors can dramatically change the outcome of a play. With just a little bit of preparation, you can give yourself an advantage during the game.

Equipment – Want to Practice at Home… WITHOUT A PARTNER?  Use my favorite rebounder

Also, here’s 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Rebounder for Baseball (Or softball)

Ten ways to use your baseball rebounder to practice fielding 

I hope this page on first base tips and instruction is helpful for directing you to our many free articles for first basemen.   I invite you to leave feedback, ask questions, or suggest topics in the comment section below.
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About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT 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. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

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