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When I say First Basemen the first thing that comes to mind is a big power hitter who just has to catch the ball thrown to them. However, when taking a deeper look at the highest levels of Baseball/Softball, those days are over. The defensive intricacies of playing first base are far more detailed than what meets the eye. The various types of plays and the sheer amount of plays a first baseman makes requires elite defenders to play the position. Today we look into what exactly is required from this position and how to develop into an elite level defender.
In the above video, Justin does a great job explaining some simple, yet effective tips to improve your footwork while receiving throws at first base. These tips may seem beginner level, however, this is the detail that is demanded at the professional level. Reacting to throws coming from multiple directions and heights, and adjusting your footwork accordingly, can make a huge difference when receiving a throw.
Another vital component of being a good defensive first baseman is the ability to “hold runners on”. This area of defense is often overlooked when in reality, can very easily save your team a run when it matters most. The most crucial situations in games always include having runners on base. One slip up in this situation could be detrimental and possibly lose a game. As the video above explains, there is great detail involved when holding a runner on. The more confident the pitcher feels in his first baseman’s ability to hold the runner on, the more likely he is to deliver his best pick off move.
This is the part of first base everyone strives to learn and master. As an infielder, there is nothing better than knowing you don’t have to be perfect with your throw. This is where the most runs are saved by a first baseman. Therefore, we must practice and perfect these tips.
The day of the power-hitting first baseman that just stands beside the base is over. Adapt or die. Being great defensively is now a requirement to play the position. Train accordingly!
Co-written by Justin Bellinger