How to Steal Home
The stolen base in baseball is still very popular in today’s game. It can be a great weapon to get your team in scoring position and many times it takes a perfect throw to get the runner. But stealing home plate is a different story. Not only is it the least attempted steal but is also the most difficult. A lot of things have to go right for a player to make a successful steal of home. But the attempted steal of home can also be one of the most exciting plays in baseball.
Can You Steal Home?
The odds for a successful steal of home are also much less than a steal of second or third base. But if the situation warrants it, and you have a coach who is a bit of a gambler, a steal of home could end up being a winning play for a team that tries it. For instance, if your team is down a run with two outs in the later innings, and you have your weakest hitter at the plate, a steal of home could be a gamble worth taking.
When to Steal Home
However, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about a stealing home. All of the things below play into the potential success of a steal of home.
It should go without saying that the runner at third base attempting the steal should be one of your team’s faster runners. You certainly don’t want to be sending a slow-footed player on a dash to the plate, especially with the game on the line.
Pitcher in the Windup
Normally, pitcher’s will throw from a full windup with a runner at third or the bases loaded. Although watching major league baseball in recent years, more and more pitchers are pitching from the stretch position, even with no runners on base. A runner should only attempt a steal of home when the pitcher is in the windup. This will provide them the time to break for home to try and beat the pitch to the plate.
Timing the Pitcher For Stealing Home
Runners on third should take a pitch or two to get the pitcher’s timing down before trying to steal. While getting a good lead, they can start moving towards the plate as the pitcher starts his windup, then return towards third base. Without getting all the way back to the bag, the runner then starts his walking lead, up to a third of the way down the line. Hopefully, as he reaches his maximum lead, the pitcher begins his windup and the runner can take off.
Right-Handed Batter and Left-Handed Pitcher
If there was an ideal scenario for the runner, this would be it. With a right-handed batter at the plate, the catcher will be partially blocked from having a good view of the runner at third, allowing the runner a chance at a larger lead and better jump for stealing home. Also, with a lefty on the mound, he is not facing the runner which can also give the runner an advantage.
Pitcher Not Holding Runner Close
If your team has done a good job of watching the pitcher, you’ll know if they do a good job of holding runners close. If not, the chance of you getting a longer lead is improved. And with a steal of home, every little advantage can make a difference. So make sure you and your teammates are paying attention to how well the pitcher holds runners throughout the course of a game. Another thing to watch is how long of a delivery the pitcher has. Some have a shorter and quicker windup while others have a longer delivery. Stealing on a pitcher with a longer delivery will also give you an advantage.
Don’t Hesitate Stealing Home
Once you’ve made the decision to take off, it’s time to go. With no hesitation, the runner should take off just as the pitcher begins his windup and get up to full speed as quickly as possible. Keep an eye on the catcher and how he’s positioned as well as where he is set up to catch the ball. Then make your slide giving the catcher as little to tag as possible, but make sure you can touch the plate, whether with your foot or your hand.
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