|Double Steal Defense
If a team possesses a catcher with a quick release time along with a strong accurate arm there should be very little for the defense to worry about on this play. However, if a club does not have a catcher with this type of arm and their shortstop and second baseman are not able to make strong accurate throws, then they can expect to be challenged occasionally by the double steal. This is especially true of those clubs that have outstanding speed but very little offensive punch at the plate.
In most cases if a defense executes this play well, then the other team shuts down this part of their offense' The team that shows that they can not handle the pressure in this type of play can expect the double steal on numerous occasions' one generally finds that the higher the caliber and level of baseball played, the fewer times a team will attempt a double steal.
As in team bunt defense, a coach never wants to burden his club with too many defenses to control the double steal' lf he does, he will find that the execution level on each separate play will go down with the number of plays added to the team's playbook.
It is the responsibility of the coach in the dugout to determine which one of the double steal plays will be in effect. He can communicate this information to the defense by flashing a sign from the dugout. As in the bunt defense plays, the type of play run can be changed from pitch to pitch so the defense needs to check with the coach after every pitch' The coach will take into consideration numerous items before selecting the type of play he wishes the defense to execute if the double steal occurs. These items would include:
As you can see, there are numerous variables involved in making the decision as to what double steal defense to use. Listed on the following pages are four plays that can be included in a team's Playbook.
About the Author...
|Legendary Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk, the winningest coach in any sport in the history of the Southeastern Conference, enters his third season as UAB's volunteer assistant coach in 2010. Polk came to UAB in the summer of 2008 after announcing his retirement from the Mississippi State program.
Polk has helped UAB to back-to-back winning seasons in his two years with the Blazers, including a 30-win campaign in 2009. He has helped the Blazers to victories in eight of 16 Conference USA series since his arrival, including 2009 series wins over both fourth-ranked Rice and eventual College World Series participant Southern Miss.
"It has been a personal highlight in life for me to be able to learn under Coach Polk in the 80's at Mississippi State and now work with him again at UAB," head coach Brian Shoop said. "I have more respect for Coach Polk than any coach in college baseball. No one has had more of an influence on our game and on countless young coaches, including myself. Our players love him and appreciate the sacrifices he makes to be involved with the UAB baseball program. We are better in so many ways because of Coach's decision to donate his time to Blazer baseball."
In July 2009, Polk was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1995. In 1988, he was presented with the Lefty Gomez Award, the highest award given by the ABCA.
Polk retired from Mississippi State in 2008, following his 29th season at the school. He ranks seventh all-time in NCAA career head coaching victories.
Polk concluded his 35-year career as a head coach with a career record of 1,373-700-2 (.662). In his career, which also included stints at Georgia Southern (1972-75) and Georgia (2000-01), Polk led his teams to a total of eight College World Series appearances, five SEC championships and 23 Regional appearances. He is one of only three coaches in college baseball history to take three different programs to the College World Series.
Polk mentored current UAB head coach Brian Shoop when the Blazer skipper was on his staff at Mississippi State from 1983-89. The Bulldogs won three SEC championships and made one trip to the College World Series during that time.
At Mississippi State, Polk recruited and coached some of the game's all-time greats, including Major League standouts Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen and Jonathan Papelbon. Those are just a few of the 185 of his former players that have signed professional contracts and a few of the 23 that have played in the Major Leagues.
A three-time National Coach of the Year, Polk held the position of Assistant Athletics Director for Special Projects at Mississippi State following his team's College World Series run in 1997. While in that position, Polk spearheaded a successful campaign to expand Polk-DeMent Stadium in Starkville. He returned to coaching at Georgia in 2000, where he spent two years before making the move back to Mississippi State for his final seven seasons.
Perhaps Polk's most talented Mississippi State squad ever was the 1985 version. That club finished the year 50-15 and was SEC champion before going on to appear in the College World Series. The 1985 Bulldog club featured future major league stars Brantley, Clark, Palmeiro and Thigpen.
In his 35 years as a college baseball coach, Polk produced 35 All-Americans and more than 75 All-SEC performers.
In addition to Polk's work in the collegiate ranks, the Boston, Mass., native has completed seven tours as a member of the coaching staff for the USA National Baseball Team, twice serving as head coach. Two of the teams he coached represented the United States in the Olympics.
Polk has also impacted the college baseball world through his literary work. He has authored "The Baseball Playbook," the nation's leading college textbook for baseball, and is featured in the book, "6 Psychological Factors for Success: America's Most Successful Coaches Reveal the Path to Competitive Excellence."