Giving Signs From Third Base

By Dave Holt

While umpiring I like to mess with youth coaches some times. I will see a third base coach touching all these areas on their bodies for baseball signs like in a situation when there are runners on second and third base and two outs.

Obviously this is not a time to put on any signs or plays. The batter will be starring down at him as he goes through his repertoire of plays indicating a baseball sign is on. There is no chance of a bunt, steal or hit and run play.

Between innings I will ask him in a friendly tone, I’m trying to learn the game and can you help me? Can you tell me what plays you are giving the batter in that situation?

Boy, do they dance around that one. They start scrambling for a logical answer which they cannot come up with and usually admit they basically just want everyone to look at them before every pitch no matter what.

The simplest sign system is usually used when you have a one game league all-star game or exhibition where players from several teams assemble for a game or two. That is because it is very simple and a fast, easy system to implement.

Coaches get frustrated when players miss signs and it usually hurts the team. How do I make a system that is so simple no one misses signs? Ah Ha. Just use my easy system all the time.

Just pick a HOT indicator. I use the right hand to the bill of the hat. Nothing is on until I touch my right hand to the hat when going through the signs. Touch the indicator and the count is on. All the batters and the baserunners have to do is count how many times I do this particular thing.

Now that the indicator has been touched everyone must pay attention to count the thing I do at the end of the signs. When I do it once, the sacrifice bunt is on, twice and the steal is on. Three times is the hit and run. Four times is the delay steal.

If you think your opponent has picked off your system just change the indicator.

I have a few more individual signs for the things like a squeeze bunt, steal on your own, drag bunt for a hit, rare take sign and stuff like that. These are pretty discreet and I do not use an indicator. But you could if you wanted.

Whatever signs you use keep them simple and do not put on signs when all the batter can do is hit away. Review the signs regularly.

After finishing his professional playing career Dave spent eleven seasons managing in the Red Sox minor league system helping to develop several major league ballplayers. After leaving the Red Sox Dave managed and recruited in the Independent Professional Baseball leagues. He has also coached collegiate wood bat and high school teams. His site, coachandplaybaseball.com is a wealth of information for baseball players and coaches of all levels.

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