Coaching First Base (1B) – CRASH COURSE
Ever coach first base before? If not, here is a crash course in how to be an effective 1B coach.
“My advice is to be as involved as possible but keep it simple.”
-Casey Medairy, Coach COA
Not enough teams utilize the first base coach enough. I don’t mean that they don’t have someone there. I mean that usually that someone was never told what or how to do it. My advice is to be as involved as possible but keep it simple. Coaching first base means being a thinker, traffic attendant, cheerleader, and advisor all at the same time. I’m not saying go buy traffic cones and pom-poms. I’m saying you have control of sending a runner to second base when you think they can make it even if it means taking a risk. First base coaches encourage batters and base runners while putting small thoughts into their head about their approach to the next pitch or the next play. Keep them up with the changes in the inning even if you think they should do that themselves, let them know that you are there for support and they can check with you if they have any questions. Your job as a first base coach is the get that runner in scoring position so that the third base coach can take over.
Once in scoring position, you aren’t done. A first base coach can help a runner on second base by letting him/her know about a middle infielder sneaking in for a pick play or let them know when a ball is passed the catcher to take third base. First base is not a spot that should just be filled with a body that has a pulse. Get involved. The players will thank you for it appreciate it even if they don’t tell you that.
Here is a list of things to remember while coaching 1B:
- Encourage your hitters.
- Keep the bench up (don’t let the players in the dugout get distracted).
- When a batter reaches 1B, tell them the number of outs, about any pickoff moves, where the first baseman is player, and what to do on a fly ball/pop up.
- Remind them to look at the 3B coach a few strides before reaching 2B.
- If your team is winning by a lot, remind them not to be aggressive to the point where it can offend the other team by making them look bad.
- Don’t stand in the base path. Some players take really big turns.
- Keep their leads in check.
- Yell, “BACK!” as soon as possible on pick off moves.
- Get the signs from 3B coach so you know what’s going on.
- Always watch the pitch. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a helmet. A concussed coach is not a good one.
If you are a third base coach looking for a first base coach, let them know their responsibilities and what they are being asked to do. If a player has to be your first base coach, choose wisely. Hold them accountable. Let them know that the first base coach has a job to do and that in order to get the runner in scoring position that the runner is relying on them.
-Casey Medairy, Coach COA
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