Submitted by Robin Lund, Travis Ficklin and Cassie Reilly-Boccia
The purpose of this study is to describe the temporal factors that determine the outcome of a stolen base attempt in high school softball. Two hundred and sixty-eight high school softball players were videotaped using a high-speed video camera to describe the typical steal time of a high school softball player. From the pool of subjects, 29 catchers, 81 pitchers and 2 middle infielders were studied to determine the average catcher pop time (time elapsed for the catcher to deliver the ball to the middle infielder at second base) under three different batter behavior conditions, pitch time and tag time (specific to location of the throw from the catcher). Repeated measures ANOVA indicated a fake bunt from the batter or a swing through by the batter significantly increased the catcher pop times when compared to the batter taking the pitch (p<0.05). A one-way ANOVA indicated that the catcher throws made to the low to inside region of second base resulted in significantly faster tag times (p<0.05). A chi-square analysis showed no effect of batter behavior on catcher accuracy. Coaches may use this evidence-based framework when deciding to attempt to steal second base to maximize run expectancy.