Baseball Strategy: Winning Without Great Hitting
Every coach loves to have a team that is loaded with
players who can hit the ball well. Unfortunately, a coach is unlikely to have such a team every year.
What separates the good coaches from the great ones is how they go about combating this type of situation
in their lean years. One excellent way of doing so is to implement small ball. Small ball is
essentially using bunting and base stealing to manufacture runs. It can be very effective for teams that do not
have a lot of hitting power. How to implement this Baseball Strategy for your team?:
1. Talk to your
team about the importance of the strategy. Have a candid talk with your team about the importance that
bunting and base stealing will have on the success of their season. Be very direct in telling them that
they do not have the same amount of hitting ability as some other teams and so the team will need to compensate.
Remember that high school players have egos and that they do not want to hear that they are not a great
hitter. Therefore be sure to go out of your way to give praise to the players who perform bunting and base
stealing properly to engender support for this Baseball Strategy. Put the emphasis on winning and not baseball hitting
2. Allocate time at
each practice to practice sacrifice and suicide bunting. The main difference is that suicide bunting
requires the hitter to try to bunt the ball regardless of where the pitch is thrown. Suicide bunting
occurs when you have a base runner on third that will be running to home plate as the pitch is delivered.
3. Recommend speed
training to your players. Provide them with a list of instructors in the area that focus on improving
the speed of baseball players and also focus on base stealing. This will prove helpful in not only base
stealing, but also in general base running.
4. Apply the
baseball strategy with runner on 1st. In each game
once a base runner gets on first and there are less than two outs, you should condition the team to expect to
either (a) have the runner steal second base, (b) have a hit and run, or (c) require the next batter to
sacrifice bunt the runner over to third. Regardless of which option is used, the goal is to get the batter into
scoring position at second with at least one out to spare.
5. Apply strategy
with runner on third. In each game once a runner is at third base and there are less than two outs,
condition the team to expect to (a) do a sacrifice bunt or (b) a suicide bunt (suicide squeeze).
If you are able to implement
these steps successfully, your team will be able to compensate for a lack of solid hitting. One thing to
keep in mind: remember this baseball strategy can also be used against your team. Therefore, it is also a
good idea to drill defensively on how to handle bunting and base stealing when the other team uses these
My own team would use a
strategy of calling out numbers to let the infield know who would be charging the batter on a sacrifice bunt and
who would be covering the bag. The numbers used would apply to the relevant position: 3= the first baseman, 5=
the third baseman, and 1= the pitcher. Therefore, if the catcher called out the number 13, and the batter
turned for a sacrifice but, the first baseman would charge down the first base line and the pitcher would cover
the third base line. In the alternative, if the catcher called the number 15, the pitcher would charge the
1st base line and the third baseman would charge the 3rd base line. By
repeatedly practicing this baseball strategy, your team will automatically do these correctly in a
*For strategies on adjusting
your hitting order, check out strategy for baseball