The game goes by a lot of names. As little kids, my friends and I called it “Running Bases.” When we grew older, it was called “Pickle.” I’ve also heard it called “Rundown.”
You set a couple of bases at a distance apart and put a kid with a glove on each base. They toss a ball between them while a third kid runs back and forth between the bases, trying to get to each base before being tagged out.
In his post, Kevin laments that kids don’t play the game anymore. When he mentions it to members of his son’s team they admit they’ve never even heard of it. Kids used to play it constantly – a great alternative to an actual game of baseball when there weren’t enough other kids available to field two makeshift teams.
He also makes a great point about the skills learned by playing the game. Here’s his list:
- teaches quick glove to hand ball transition
- stresses the importance of making an accurate throw
- gets base runners to know how to stay in a rundown
- helps fielders concentrate on the ball when a runner is right in front of them
- makes fielders move their feet to get into an open throwing lane (so they don’t hit the runner with the ball)
Teaching the game to your kids at home will give them a great new way to have fun (while getting exercise), and as a coach you can use it during practice. It will keep players productively busy while other players are taking their swings in the batter’s box or working on other aspects of the game.