When you are suddenly called over to play third base during a baseball game, you will wish that you learned how to play third base. In order to avoid this issue, learn the techniques and roles of the position first. Third base requires excellent fielding skills, so you will need to know these skills to properly play third base.
Skills you will need to play third base:
- Pop up and ground ball fielding skills
- Runner tagging skills
- Knowledge of proper positioning
- Strong familiarity with common plays
- Before starting to play third base, work on fielding ground balls. Have a friend, coach, or teammate hit you grounders that you will have to run to get. To properly field, you must crouch down low to the ground and touch your glove to the dirt so that the ball does not roll under your glove. You will also need to "close" your body to the greatest extent possible, so that there are fewer gaps for the ball to get through.
- Work on pop ups before starting. Catching pop ups is a very common play, and to play third base properly you must be able to catch a ball almost 100% of the time. If not, you will cause the team a lot of grief (and they will give you a lot of grief).
- Review proper play strategies. Talk with your coaches about their expectations for you when you play third base. Discuss plays with them and with the rest of your team to make sure that there are no misunderstandings.
- Master proper positioning. Because the third base player and shortstop share the same area of the infield, they (as well as first and second base players) must position themselves perfectly in order to maximize their fielding potential. Generally, the player at third base will stand a few steps to the left of third base (from his or her perspective) and a few steps in toward the batter, but he or she may play further back for stronger batters.
- Always be prepared for the ball when you play third base. Crouch low and keep your glove low to the ground to prepare for fast grounders. Otherwise, you may be too slow to react when the batter rips a ball down the third base line.