Over the years the training being given to young ballplayers (and older ones also), is it doesnt matter which foot you touch the base with when running. Im not talking about trying to leg out an infield hit, Im talking about taking extra bases. I was tutored by a professional player who always insisted that I touch the outside tip of the base with my left foot and swing my arms and right leg in the direction of the next base. Coaches now-a-days are telling the kids "It dont matter, just touch it". I dont adhere to this NEW approach. I have posted an article on this that was in the Sporting News some years ago......Jim Crane's Base Running Tips
Believe it or not there is a right and wrong method to running the bases. Just because a man is very fast does not mean he can run the bases better than an average runner. By running the bases properly you can cut down two steps at first, second and third base.
Put very simply when running or rounding a base hit the bag with your inside or left foot. This enables you to start pivoting towards the next base and eliminates at least two steps. Don't forget the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Since baseball is played on a diamond cutting down the distance between say home and third base by four steps can be the difference between a triple and an out. A base runner has to remember he can get all the way to third base four times a game but unless he scores he does not help the team. Look at the number or men left on base in a ball game and you can tell who the losers are; the name of the game is scoring. I would be interested in the opinions of the board members on this subject.....Don
Don't forget the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Then why don't we have players right straight to each base and make an immediate 90 degree turn? That would be the shortest distance, right?
It's because once you have accelerations involved, the shortest path no longer gives the shortest time. Thus, a runner wanting to stretch a single into a double will take a wide turn into foul territory before touching first. That smooth curve will minimize the accelerations needed to round the corner.
Now consider this: given two curves, one entirely inside the other, which is shorter? The inside one. I would argue that the path formed by touching the base with the right foot is inside of, and therefore shorter than, the one formed by touching the base with the left foot.
But even that doesn't really matter; any attempt to break stride to hit the base with the "correct" foot will, IMO, cost more than the purported benefit of using that foot.
And what's more, if you round the base correctly (by taking a wide turn), you should be pretty going straight over the bag; that is, there is little or no discontinuity to your path at the base.
So, put me in the "it don't matter" camp.
I've never understood why hitting the bag with your left foot is taught. It does create a slightly wider arc around the bases, and also might cause a trip hazard with the trailing foot coming over the bag. Plus, most folks are right handed(and footed), so you'd get a better launch off of each base with the right foot.
So what's the advantage of the left foot? There must be something, because it's widely taught.
I teach kids rounding first to try to hit the bag on the inside corner of the bag with their right foot. That way their banana turn describes an arc inside the arc they would make if they hit any other part of the bag and/or they hit the bag with their left foot.
Assuming the batter has gotten a hit to the outfield, he has taken a path about 10 ft to the right of the line which allows him to take a more straight line to 2b. It matters not which foot he touches the bag with. He should be running on a close to straight line to 2b. This falls into an area that is a waste of time to even deal with in practice. What is more important is that they take a line circling 10 ft to the right of the line and agressively look to be going to 2b until the OF makes the play and gets it back into the infield.
Right foot allows you to push off of the bag in a shorter arc. I believe instructing on the aproach path to the first base bag is neglected in youth practices.
Have to agree with coach that its the path not which foot. Everyone doesn't have the same stride length and will take stutter steps to hit the bag with the right foot which slows the runner down.
Article from The American Baseball Coaches Assn. ........... Infield hit - Always look at your first base coach as you tear down the line. He will tell you when the ball goes through and you should round the bag or go to second. If you get the green light to second, start your banana turn early, touch the inside corner of first with your left foot, sprint to second and look for your third base coach on the way. If the first base coach signals for you to round the bag but stay at first, the ball probably went to the outfield, but a second base is unlikely. To do this you still take a banana turn at first, then round the bag after touching it, and look for the ball to determine if you can safely draw a throw. Do not be thrown out or get into a rundown, unless the coach signals for it to score a runner on third. Most often when the ball is hit to the infield, you'll be running hard through first. Race the throw to the finish line, and remember you still win if the first baseman misses the ball because he took his eye off of it to see what's coming so hard and fast at her left. Run through the base, and look to your right for an overthrow. Don't wait for your first base coach to tell you to run to second, but listen for him to bring you back. Be smart in any attempt toward second after you overrun the bag. Remember, if you make a move to second, even if you're still in foul territory, you can be tagged out.
Outfield hit - Always run hard to first, even if it's a routine fly ball. Don't waste your team's time feeling bad about your at bat; wait till it's actually over, on your own time. If he drops the ball, you may get the green light to second so be half way there in your mind. Usually you know when you hit the ball whether it's an easy single or a possible double, but run to first as if it could be a triple and it could be. Take a banana route about half way down the line, tag the inside corner of the bag with your left foot, and either round the base or tear to second. Be prepared to slide. Remember to look at your third base coach and listen for your first base coach on your way to second.
Touching the outside tip of the base with your left foot allows your right leg and right arm to produce additional momentum toward the next base. I suggest trying it and timing the runners using both meithods? Of course it might take them a little time to adjust to the left foot touch, but after they do, you will see significant improvement in speed on the bases. Don
Ask the Coach
Rob Carr asks:
I have an age old question. I have been teaching my high school aged players to round the bases touching the inside corner with their LEFT foot. I was taught to use the left foot as a child, I have read that one should use the left foot, but I have trouble answering the "why" question. Why should baserunners touch the bases with their left foot?
Coach Swift answers:
The reason is relatively simple, though I will admit when you're learning to hit the inside of the bag with your left foot it can seem awkward, but it is correct.
As we approach each base, at about 10 feet out we have to make a small arc so that we are approaching the bag at an angle instead of straight on. The reason we round it with our left foot is that we lean to the left while the right foot does the crossover step to start toward the next base. It's all in the physics: when the foot strikes the bag it starts to slow us down, but if we lean to the left we are hitting the base, crossing our right foot over, and driving through the bag with our arms. The centrifugal force will keep the momentum we have and not cause us to break stride.
If we hit a base with our right foot, we lose some of the momentum built up running to the bag. It's really key that the runner creates a little bit of an angle when approaching the bag and tries to run hard, not slowing down. It's one of the small intricacies of baserunning that some players never really learn. It's not the worst thing to do incorrectly, but given a choice it's easy to do it right.
Also, to keep players from over-running second or third base, teach them to put their foot on the bag and at the same time drop their butt just a little bit. This action will take runners from full speed to zero speed immediately.
Just more fodder to add to my beliefs. Don
"It matters not which foot he touches the bag with."
agree 100% with The Coach ("Da Coach")
you want to hit the bag full stride... depending on how you get out of the box... it may be your left... it may be your right.
you DONT want to shorten your stride because your thinking... "oh, i have to hit it with my right (or left)"
I was taught left foot. When taught something and it works a comfort level arises. When I taught younger kids I instructed left foot. However if they looked uncomfortable I told them just make sure they hit the base on the inside with either foot. In the bigger scheme it's more about the path than which foot.