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NFCA Coaching Tip Of The Week: Tagging at third made "quick" and "easy"

When a fly ball is hit into the outfield with a runner on third base, the coach's responsibility is to remind the runner to tag up and tell her if she should try to score. If the decision is to try and score, then it should be the player's responsibility -- not the coach's -- to direct-read the play. The player will almost certainly get a better jump direct-reading the play herself, rather than waiting on a "go" call by the coach. The coach can assist the runner, however, with her jump at third base with two simple commands.

If the coach reads a medium-range fly ball to the outfield with the outfielder setting up behind the ball to make the throw to the plate, the coach command is "quick." This command alerts the runner to get a great jump, accelerate to the plate as quickly as possible and finish with a slide. There will be a close play at the plate in this situation. The player is still responsible for direct-reading the play.

If the coach reads a long-range fly ball that takes the outfielder away from the infield, the coach's command is "Easy." This command alerts the runner that there probably will not be a close play, if any, at the plate. The worst thing that can happen is for the runner to leave early when there is little or no potential for a play at the plate. With an "Easy" call, the runner at third should count "one-thousand-one" before she leaves the base. The runner is still responsible for direct-reading the play.