The key to holding runners on is that you have to be unpredictable. Base runners, just like hitters, try to pick up on pitcher’s patterns. First base coaches time the pitcher’s delivery to home to see if they are repeating their approach to the plate.
Ways to change things up:
- Mix your looks up to first. Sometimes look over once; other times look over three or four times.
- Mix your leg kick (high vs. slide step).
Unless the other team has a very aggressive manager, it’s rare for runners to try to steal a base in the ninth inning. The team is looking for a rally. If a runner gets picked off or is caught stealing, he can kill a potential rally and seal a loss. Still, a pitcher can’t ignore speedy runners at first base. He has to do his part in holding runners close!