Proper technique for a third baseman to receive a throw and tag the base runner.

Receiving a throw from the CATCHER for a runner tag play

Tips for third baseman, How to apply a runner tag to a sliding base runner.  Free Instruction for third basemen on receiving throws from the catcher and from outfield

Doug Bernier tags a sliding baserunner.

  • Step 1 – Once the ball is on its way to the plate get to the bag as quickly as possible
  • Step 2 – Straddle the bag so your feet are in a straight line through the catcher.  Straddling the bag is important because you want the ball to travel in the air as long as possible. It is faster than going to get the ball and bringing it back to make the tag.  In other words, ball in air = faster than ball in your glove.
  • Step 3 – From this position of having the bag in between your feet, DON’T take your tag to the runner, let him slide into you.  If you do, an experienced base runner can swim around your tag and get in safely.  All you need to do is catch the ball and bring it straight down to the front of the bag. This is where the runner will be sliding.

Common mistake –  Many infielders want to place both feet in front of the bag, catch the ball, and apply the tag.  This position clears you from the runner, and is most natural at first. This, however, creates a long tag and takes a fraction of a second longer to make the play.

These simple adjustments can really step up your game.   These tips will get you better results and show that you’re a pro.  And again, remember, the ball traveling in the air is faster than your tag, so let it travel as long as possible.

Receiving a throw from an OUTFIELDER on a runner tag play.

On throws from an outfielder, your position on the 3rd base bag will depend on where the ball is coming from and the path the runner is taking.

Depending on where the throw is coming from and how the runner is coming into third base, you may have to go from one side of the base to the other until you find a clear throwing path.

Try to not let the ball cross the path of the runner.  It is very difficult not lose the ball when he is sliding into the base.

  • Step 1 – Analyze the situation.   If a play at third base is starting to develop and a throw is coming in from the outfield, you have to determine which part of the bag it is coming from.   In this situation you will not use the straddle technique.
  • Step 2 – Choose your placement.  On a throw from left field or centerfield you will want to have both feet on the outside part of the bag.   This allows the outfielder to have a larger unobstructed target when throwing. This also allows you to watch the ball all the way in and not have the ball get tangled up with the runner, on a good throw.
  • If the throw is from the right fielder you will probably want to position yourself on the inside part of the bag. Once again, this spot should take you away from the runner.
  • Step 3 – Making the tag.   Once you make the catch, take your glove and sweep it to the front part of the 3rd base bag. Again just like any other tag, let the runner slide into the tag, don’t take the tag to him.

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What to read next?

Check out all our instruction for third basemen – we have basic to advanced level tips and how-to’s.  Every page was written by a pro player, and best of all, it’s all FREE.   For example:

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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