Softball Quick Tip: Avoid Collisions and Get Home Safely

This clip is a direct result of a discussion going on at In this clip I do a little experiment to see just how “easy” it is to reach a runner sliding away from a defender if a defender is “giving up” the basepath by standing to the inside.

One poster over at said that I would be surprised at just how much territory can be covered if a defender is standing off to the inside of a basepath (in order to avoid obstruction) basically saying that an average person would have the reach to make a tag from this position.  I was arguing that the defender shouldn’t have to give up that lane and make things easier for the runner.  This person was trying to tell me that the defender can still be make the play even if they do give up the basepath.  So I had to do a little experiment to see if that person was right.

Another issue that came up was path to the bag/plate. Some coaches feel the best route to a bag is always directly at it – why go any other way?  Find out in this video.

If you want to be able to:

  • go full speed to the plate (instead of slowing down to avoid the catcher)
  • not have to change direction en route to the plate (in order to avoid the catcher)
  • be able to avoid major collisions
  • AND give yourself the best chance at being safe at home on a tag play

This is a must see video clip. Plus you’ll see why I disagree with the coaches who think that a direct line to the bag is always the best route.

Here is the math I used to figure out how much farther an “out route” is as compared to running direction from one base to the next.

Baserunning Path

Last Note: I’m not saying that running to the “outside” is always best.  If the defender is outside, then running to the inside would be better (i.e. you tag up on 2nd and are running to 3rd and 3b is receving the ball from left-center).  Point is, as a runner, make the play as tough for the defense as possible by not running straight into the tag.  Choose a route that will make the defense work harder to apply the tag on you.

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Comments 2

  • Not buying the whole theory you are discussing here. I don’t have to tag the body of the runner, I just have to tag the part of the body that is trying to touch the base. Why would I need to sweep a tag 2 feet behind the bag. I should keep my sweep tag relatively close to the bag and work around it in an arcing motion. I don’t care how far you slide away from the bag, how tall you are, and how long your reach is. I just need to keep you from touching the bag. If you are not teaching the defenders that concept, and they are always reaching for the body. I’m going to be safe every time.

  • Very interesting video. Great job and very detailed.

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