This is a drill to teach the Spin Move to second base. It can be run as a group drill during Station Instruction, or one-on-one with an athlete. The language is specific to a right-handed pitcher. All can be switched for a left-hander. Pick Offs – 2B teaches the fundamental steps to a successful pick off move.
Explain first the concept of a second base pick. This pick, the Spin Move, is a quickness-pick. Meaning, we are trying to BEAT the runner to the bag by being as quick as possible. For this reason, we will turn “glove-side” to deliver a quick and accurate throw. The other second base pick, the Inside Turn or Spaghetti Move, is a deception-pick. This means we are trying to FOOL the runner. Speed is much less of a priority, and so we’ll actually turn “the wrong way”, when executing the Inside Turn.
EXECUTION – If operating drill with a group, place a single cone down for each athlete to use as a pitching rubber. Set up a catch net 30-40 feet away from the cones to catch throws. Ideally, place the catch net 15-20 feet in front of a fence to stop roller baseballs.
Part I / Pick Off Fundamentals – Slow motion, step-by-step repetitions to teach and feel pick off fundamentals. Conduct 3-4 repetitions where the athletes move together as a group, holding each movement to truly feel the positions.
- Right – Right foot moves towards home plate, turning inward so that the inside of the ankle points back to 2B (represented by the catch net).
- Left – Left foot moves next, towards target (2B / catch net), and lands in a straight line between right foot and catch net.
- Throw – Arms move up into the throwing position, and a quick and aggressive throw is let go.
Keep in mind that this will be very awkward while moving in slow motion. That is okay! The right foot turning inward without disengaging the left leg is almost impossible. I believe this to be a good thing, as the athletes will understand how/why this movement becomes more of a jump at full speed.
Part II / Repetitions – Gradually speed up the pace of the pick with your verbals and energy. As speed increases and the movement becomes more of a jumping-action, remind the athletes that the right foot MUST move first. This is both to avoid a balk but also to build power, momentum, and direction towards first base.
A great test to see if the athletes are executing correctly is to freeze after the right foot and left foot have moved. Essentially, this is the power-position towards second base. At this point, the rubber (or cone) should be in between the feet. If done correctly, the initial step towards home is not far. It’s almost as if the right foot plants where the left foot was. As the body pushes into that right foot, the left foot lands on the other side of the rubber or cone. This ensures that the body momentum is moving towards the target and helps to put pace and power onto the throw. Long story short: Freeze at the power position and look to see if the cone is between the athletes’ legs.
PART III / Assignments – Allow each athlete to lead the group, using verbals to lead each step of the mound progression steps (see drill Mound Progression).
- Straddle –> Step On –> Look In –> Come Set
- One look –> Two Looks –> Fire!
From this point, athletes are to come set and check the second base area for a specific number of looks before executing a pick off move at full speed. Allow each athlete to lead the group with varying assignments, or get down into a catcher’s crouch and help the athletes determine when to pick.
- Slow First – Force the athletes to physically feel what they may already do athletically. Accountability 101.
- Alignment with the Feet – 90% of throwing errors are because the feet do not turn all the way around. In other words, they don’t completely get into a direction between home plate and second base. With the athlete slightly closed (shoulders pointing towards second baseman’s area), many throws are pushed to the second base side of the bag and end up in right-center field!
- Throw to the Bag – There’s a lot of moving parts with a pick to second base. Athletes should encouraged to throw to the bag. Actually, waist-high, over the bag to be exact.
- CONES FOR ATHLETES, ONE CATCH NET
- FUNDAMENTALS - SLOW REPS
- REPETITIONS - INCREASING PACE
- ACT AS CATCHER
- SLOW FIRST
- ALIGNMENT - FEET
- THROW TO & OVER BAG
- Baseball Buckets1
- Catch Net1