Baserunning in Softball: How to Round First Base

For softball players, rounding first base can make or break your run to second. If you do it correctly, a tight turn will get you there in no time. With too wide a turn, though, you may find yourself out of the base line and out of the play. This softball guide will offer some tips on how to round first base quickly and efficiently.

The Approach

You want to approach first base as if you are following a question mark drawn in the dirt:

  1. Sprint down the baseline until there are about three stride lengths between you and the base.
  2. Then start rounding the bag by turning into foul territory. Remember, this is a slight turn. You don’t need to be three strides into foul territory; run just outside the base line.
  3. Within two strides, you should be turning onto the bag. Your turn should be tight enough that you tag only the inner corner of the base with either foot. Ideally, try to tag the base while in stride to avoid stutter-stepping or slowing down.
  4. After tagging the base, your entire body should be facing second.

Hot Tip: A Cone Can Help!

If you are having trouble rounding first base tightly, use a visual cue. Place a cone about five feet down the base line from first base, and one or two feet into foul territory. Use that as a marker. When you round first base, make sure you stay close to the outside of that cone. If you really want a challenge, add a second cone about a foot away from the first (going further into foul territory). Run through this “lane” to keep your turn tight and quick.

The Next Step

After you round first base, you’ll have two options as to what happens next:

  1. You continue your sprint to second base.
  2. You stop midway to watch the ball.

Deciding which option is best certainly depends on how the play develops. Obviously, if you have the opportunity to take second base, take it! Just make sure to slide in if the play is close.

If the ball was popped up to the outfield, though, you may not have time to get all the way to second. In this case, only go halfway to second base. Slow your speed, breakdown, and watch the ball. If you see that you have time to take second base, start sprinting. If the ball is on its way back to the infield, though, you need to hustle back to first! You can either dive back, slide back, or go in standing up. Whatever you choose, go hard.

Keep Your Eyes Open!

After you hit the ball, you should be able to tell whether or not you have a chance at getting a double, but keep your eyes open. Your first base coach has the best view of the field and if he is frantically waving you around to second, don’t hesitate. On your way to second base, keep your eyes on the third base coach. This coach should be telling you to go in sliding or standing up. If you’re ever in doubt of what to do, slide in. Sliding in for no reason is much better than running straight into a tag!

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