Art of the Delayed Steal

When to Put on the Delay

As mentioned above, the most important issue is that the middle infielders are not paying attention. In some games, a coach will realize right away that the delay will not be in the game plan for that given day. However, if the middle infielders are not paying attention there are a few times to delay.

First, you do not have to be fast to delay steal. In fact, it is usually the slower guys on the team that you will do it with most often. As a result, these “slugs” seem to take pride in their delay technique and do it well.

Keep in mind, you wouldn't have your quickest players delay steal because they can steal second with regular technique. Furthermore, a fast runner usually gets more attention then the slug; thus the middle infielders are more apt to check their base.

Runners at First and Third

Other than the delay possibility actually being “there” there is one great opportunity—the first and third. In a first and third situation, most of the time the defense puts on some sort of play—either through: throw to the pitcher, fake to second throw to third, etc.

Oftentimes, the defense will put on a play where the shortstop goes to the middle of the field to cut off a throw from the catcher. With a delay, the shortstop will be too late to come to the middle, thus the ball goes all the way through and the runner from third will easily score.

An important note is the runner on third must watch for two things: First, he must watch the catcher’s shoulders. When a catcher is throwing to third, his left shoulder will open up towards third base. In this scenario, the runner must get back to third right away.

Second, he must read the height of the throw to second; he must make sure that the ball is not being thrown to the pitcher. Once he reads height of the ball he can take off for home.


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