Fundamentals: Leadoffs is a drill to teach basics of taking a lead. Initially, it can be run during Baserunning segment of practice. Then, these fundamentals will be reinforced throughout the season during Early Baserunning, Station Instruction, scrimmages, and general baserunning times. The goal here is to TEACH FUNDAMENTALS. DC programming recommendation: Involve leadoffs into baserunning frequently. DC practice plans often include two groups. One group will be running the bases on the diamond, while a second group works fundamentals at the foul line. If coaching staff permits, break the group down into smaller sizes and utilize two baserunning stations (switch half-way).
EXECUTION – Run as a drill, Fundamentals: Leadoffs can be run for the first time at the Warm Up Cones. This allows three athletes to go at once, but also allows those not ‘live’ to watch and observe. Fundamentals to be taught:
- Heels Up – Two heels on the base (or cone).
- Left – Left foot steps out (eyes never leave the pitcher).
- Right – Right foot steps beyond left foot as the body squares to the pitcher.
- Connect & Step 1 – Left foot moves towards right foot… right foot steps out.
- Connect & Step 2 – Left foot again moves towards right foot… right foot again steps out.
- Lie Down to Check Lead Length – Great trick to have athletes see for themselves if the size of their steps are appropriate. From the finished leadoff position, this test starts with the right foot coming to left foot. The feet turn, so that the body faces the base. Next, lie down… knees first, then chest, then reaching with the right arm extended. At this point, coach has the opportunity to discuss diving back and point out what is an appropriate lead length. The distance from hand to base is equal to a dive length.
- Opposite Corner, Turn Head – On the dive back, right hand reaches across head to furthest corner of the base (away from first baseman). In addition, the head turns away from the pitcher to protect face from a wild pick off throw.
- Lead, Dive, React – First, everyone executes a leadoff two times through. Then, all athletes have the chance to test lead length by lying down. Next, execute several rounds of diving (predictably) BEFORE any breaks are made.
- RIGHT FOOT
- LEFT FOOT
- CONNECT & STEP 1
- CONNECT STEP 2
- LIE DOWN TO CHECK LEAD LENGTH
- LEAD, DIVEBACK, REACT
- OPPOSITE CORNER, TURN HEAD