Teaching Players Full Baseball Rules

By Dan O'Connell •  Updated: 04/16/19 •  6 min read

There a lot of rules in baseball and it’s safe to say that even coaches may not know all of them. I mean, isn’t that for the umpires to know and enforce? Well, the answer is no. In fact, coaches should have a good understanding of as many of the most important rules as possible so that in a game situation they know the right call.

And it shouldn’t be just the coaches. Among their many other duties, a good coach should be sharing information regarding the rules to their players. The primary reason is that the player and the team are affected by the rules of the game. There are many circumstances that occur during a game in which the players need to understand what they can and can’t do within those rules.

Basic Rules

Every player should be familiar with the basic rules of baseball. But in this age of smartphones and video game, you can’t take even the most basic knowledge of the game for granted.

Luckily, we have outlined all the basic riules you need to cover her. Anmd we even have a couple of quizzes for players to test themselves.

Learn More and Take the Quizzes Here: Basic Baseball Rules

Dropped Third Strike

And what about the case of a dropped third strike? This is something every player should know about. They may not be happy that they either took a called third strike or swung and missed at strike three, but if the catcher doesn’t hold onto the ball, they should be ready to act.

First base needs to be unoccupied for this rule to matter (unless there are two outs) but from the batter’s perspective, they should take off for first anyway. They should also be aware that if the ball bounced and hit the ground prior to the catcher grabbing it, the catcher would still have to tag them or throw to first base to complete the strikeout. Even if they may not be sure, they should still take off for first.

Learn More: Dropped Third Strike Rule

Infield Fly Rule

Another important rule that players should understand is the infield fly rule. This one can be confusing not just for players, but for parents and coaches as well. The purpose of the rule is to prevent the defensive team from intentionally dropping or not catching an ordinary infield fly ball with the purpose of trying to turn a double or triple play. Since runners typically stay on the bag when there is an infield fly, it would be easy for infielders to throw them out by intentionally dropping the ball.

An important thing to remember about the infield fly rule is that is a judgement call made by the umpire. Most umpires, upon making the judgement that the ball can be caught by the infielder with ordinary effort, will yell “Infield Fly, Batter is Out.” Should a player hear the umpire make the infield fly rule call, there is no reason for them to do anything other than to make the catch.

Learn More: What is the Infield Fly Rule?

Teaching Pitchers About Balks

Another good example is explaining to all of your pitchers, what constitutes a balk. This should be part of your instruction when working with your pitching staff. If you don’t make sure they understand this, how can you blame them if they actually commit a balk.

Learn More: What is a Balk?

Baserunning Rules

Players are also sometimes confused when they are on base and are taking their leadoff in hopes of stealing a base. For instance, do they need to return to the bag and touch it after each pitch? The answer is no but there are times when they do need to go back and touch the bag. One, when the batter hits a foul ball, the runner needs to retouch the base. Two, when tagging up on a fly ball they also need to go back and touch the base and can’t leave it until the ball is caught if they are running.

Overrunning a Base

Take for example, something is simple as overrunning first base on a hit. If the player overruns the bag and fails to return immediately to the base, they can be tagged out. Or, if they cross first base and then act like they are going to second, they can also be tagged out. However, that is a judgement call made by the umpire.

Overall, it’s important for coaches to teach players as many of the full baseball rules as possible, especially ones they’ll need to know while participating in the game. We’ve covered a few of those rules but there are others. For instance, when is a ball dead and when is it still in play? How far out the baseline can I go and not be called out? Do I have to retouch each base when returning to first if I rounded second on a long fly ball?

So make sure you get up to speed on the rules of the game, and make sure you share the information with your players. It could be the difference between winning and losing.

Baseball Situations Quiz

Do you know the essentials of baseball situations with runners on and the ball put in play? Take our baseball situations quiz and test your knowledge!

More Baseball Quizzes

More quizzes here: Baseball Quizzes

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