Steal Coverage is a drill designed to teach middle infield responsibility on a steal attempt. Long story short: one middle infielder will take the throw at the second base bag, while the other backs-up the play at the cut of the outfield grass. But beyond that teaching point, this drill is a great multi-purpose activity: catchers throw, pitchers hold runners, first-basemen communicate, and baserunners run. Coaches… well, coaches coach!
EXECUTION – This drill will involve 1-3 baserunning lines at first base. Prior to assigning positions and breaking for repetitions, start with a group discussion. The primary teaching point to this drill is steal coverage responsibility. In a nutshell, the pull-side defender should stay put the longest. Basically, the defense is assuming the batter will pull the ball more often than not. So responsibility is as follows:
- Right-Handed Hitter – Second baseman takes the throw. The shortstop (pull-side defender) will stay home a bit longer and back up the play.
- Left-Handed Hitter – Shortstop takes the throw. The second baseman (pull-side defender) will stay home a bit longer and back up the play.
Next, assign a single athlete to each position and the remaining athletes to first base to run (helmets on). Working around the diamond:
- Baserunners – Steal sign is on! Work on getting good jumps and reading the pitcher. Stay wide of, and run past, the second base bag.
- First-Basemen – Hold runner and communicate the steal attempt: RUNNER!!!!
- Second-Basemen – Take throw on right-handed batters and back up the play with a left-handed hitter. Communicate with open-mouth or closed-mouth.
- Shortstops – Back up the play with a right-handed batter and take throw with a left-handed hitter. Communicate with open-mouth or closed-mouth.
- Pitchers – Throw strikes!! (Are pick-offs appropriate?!? Definitely not until all have had enough repetitions taking throws and working leads/breaks).
- Catchers – Throw down to second base.
- Coach – Stand in the batter’s box and switch frequently between a left-handed hitter and a right-handed hitter.
The typical communication technique between middle infielders is non-verbal. Hiding the face with the glove, middle infielders close the mouth to signal their defensive partner they are taking the throw (closed mouth = me). An open mouth means they will back up the play (open mouth = you).
- Rotate Positions – Outside of pitchers and catchers, rotate all the players between the defensive positions: baserunner –> first base –> second base –> shortstop.
- Catchers Throw (a lot) – It’s rare for catchers to have the opportunity to throw live. Get them productive reps.
- Baserunners Run Through and Behind the Base – Have baserunners stay clear of the second base bag. Would be worthwhile to place a cone 5 feet behind the bag and have all athletes stay outside of that cone.
- RESPONSIBILITY DISCUSSION
- LIVE REPS - CATCHER THROWS
- ALTERNATE BETWEEN RH AND LH HITTER
- ROTATE POSITIONS
- CATCHERS THROW (A LOT)
- RUN THROUGH & STAY BEHIND THE BASE
- Baseball Buckets1
- Catcher's Gear1