Again, home to 1st is not 90′.
When baseball was created, the 90 feet we all know was defined as the distance to the baselines. However, 1st (and 3rd) base are situated on/inside the 90 degree angle that the baselines create. Now, you may be asking yourself, “who cares?” In reality, nobody should really care about the actual distance from home to 1st (it really is 88′-9″ from the back corner of home plate to the FRONT of 1st base… 90′ baseline minus a 15″ base).
The key here, is the word “front.” When telling yourself, or teaching another, to run to first base, encourage him/her to hit the front part of the bag. How so? Well this is something that can’t quite be explicitly taught. Even sabermetrics won’t help us here (yet). What you can do, however, is get out of the box and run hard. Then, with three strides remaining, make a small adjustment to slightly lengthen or shorten your strides to ensure you hit the front (not middle, not back) part of the bag. This adjustment requires athleticism and that “feel” for the game we all look for.
Too many times (from little league to the pros), we’ve witnessed players hit the back half of the base rather than the front. Sometimes, even, they won’t hit it at all.
Picture courtesy of the NY Times
Focus on the little things to improve your game.