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Rounding the Bases

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ajgartland22

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A small yet very important technique in baseball is a player approaches, touches and leaves a base during a play.  The idea is, from a physics perspective, to translate as much kinetic energy as possible around a 90 degree angle in order to continue to the next base with a large amount of velocity.  The major part of the technique happens before you even touch the bag.  During the approach, the runner must bend away from the baseline and then come back to the base in a way that makes the turn longer and less of an angle.  (watch the video it this doesn't make sense)  What longer distance the runner must travel is easily made up for by the burst of speed he gets when he pushes off the inside part of the base with his right foot.  Contacting the inside of the base with his right foot allows the runner to line his body up perpendicular to the face of the base and really push off of the raised base to use Newton's 3rd law to his advantage.  Looking at this from a kinematics perspective, one can see that the increased velocity, coupled with a more direct route to the next base greatly increases the likelihood of reaching that base safely.

In the video below, go to 1:00 and look at #47, Howie Kendrick.  Although this is an amazing throw by Cespedes, it is one Kendrick could have easily score on if he had rounded third correctly.  You can see that he is many feet away from the 3rd base line which means he rounded 3 at a speed that was too great at too sharp of an angle. This curved route meant he probably had to run 5 or 6 feet more than the actual 90 feet that separates 3rd and home.  A better turn means he is safe without a doubt.

 

 

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