Baseball Coaching Digest: Putting the Squeeze on Your Competition
The squeeze play should be a part of the playbook of every baseball team. It is important to properly teach the techniques, fundamentals, and proper timing to execute a successful squeeze play. This article covers the three common plays associated with the squeeze, the purpose of each and how each is run.
The Squeeze Play
The Squeeze Play is a play ran by offensive baseball teams consisting of a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball. It is expected that the batter be thrown out at first base. The offensive team is trading an out for a run by providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score.
The Squeeze Play is rarely attempted with two strikes because a bunt attempt that is fouled off is an automatic third strike. The squeeze play is also rarely executed with two outs because there is a good possibility that the batter would make the third out of the inning by being thrown out at first base.
This is a type of squeeze play in which the runner at third reads the contact before breaking for home. The runner makes sure that the bunt is down and in a location that makes it possible for him to safely score. These elements of caution is why this bunt is called the Safety Squeeze.
The runner at third must see the ball down. He should extend his secondary lead. He should not get caught sitting still and looking. He must read the contact and immediately break for home or back to third base. The runner that hesitates or makes a slow read, may get picked off at third.
The Suicide Squeeze is a play in which the runner at third base break for home as soon as the pitcher begins his motion to the plate. This play, when executed properly, is impossible to stop from scoring. However, failure to get the bunt down is almost certainly going to result in an out at the plate. This is why this played is called Suicide Squeeze.
The batter must bunt any pitch location no matter where it is. The batter must get the bat on the ball. The runner at third and the batter can not show the squeeze to soon. The batter will not square until the pitcher’s stride foot lands. The runner at third must not break too early. When the batter or runner show the play too early the pitcher may pitch out or throw at the batter, in either case, the offensive team will find itself in a serious dilemma.
The Fake Squeeze is play in which the offensive team puts pressure on the defensive team by faking a squeeze play. This play is used for two purposes; to draw a balk by the opposing pitcher and to safely steal second base uncontested. If the offensive team is seeking to cause a balk, the play is executed with a 3-ball count. Many coaches will opt to use this play when they have little confidence of the batter hitting the ball. The runner at third will cut his primary lead down. When the pitcher commits to the plate, the third base runner will yell “squeeze”. The defensive team will think that a squeeze play is being ran, and forget about the backside runner advancing to second base.
The runner at third must not get caught “looking or sitting” still after his secondary lead. The runner must break back to the bag inside the foul line to block a throw from the catcher to third base should it happen. Most defensive teams will not contest the runner moving to second base. This makes the Fake Squeeze almost a risk-free way to steal second base.
I hope that you found this article to be informative. If you would like to read more like it, please visit the Baseball Coaching Digest or the Baseball Coaching Digest Blog. Good luck to you and your team. Have a great day, Nick
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon coaches at Boaz High in Boaz Alabama. Dixon is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is considered an expert in baseball training and skills development. Dixon also serves as an active consultant to baseball equipment companies and other sports product inventors.
Dixon is also a contributing writer for the Baseball Coaching Digest, the baseball Coaching Digest Blog, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest Blog, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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