ABCA Clinic Recaps - Matt Talarico


Liam Carroll

Beyond Stealing Bases: Introducing the Team Approach that Produced a National Leader
Matt Talarico – Assistant Coach, University of Dayton

Coach Talarico was the perfect fit to present a clinic on stealing bases.  In 61 games last season the Dayton Flyers stole 164 bags in 198 attempts.  164 bases in 61 games!  The stat made me think of the Cardinals teams of the mid 1980’s: in ’85 they stole 314 bases (410 attempts) in 162 games on their way to the NL Championship. 

However what really impressed me about Coach Talarico’s system is that stealing bases is something they expect of all of their players, not just out of their fast guys.  On that Cardinals team two players accounted for over half of the steals.  Vince Coleman swiped 110 and Willie McGee stole 56 bases.  Seven players stole 10 or more bases.  During Dayton’s 2012 season, eight players stole 10 or more bags and no player stole as much as a third of the total, reinforcing Coach Talarico’s statement that “anyone can develop a base stealing mindset.”

To create buy-in from his players, Coach Talarico said that one of the most important things he tells them is “we need you to do this,” helping players understand that stealing bases is part of a system that will improve the offense as a whole.  He also fibs to players, telling them that they’re faster than they actually are so their confidence improves.

Explaining where stealing bases fits into the Dayton offense, Coach Talarico said that his players are “fighting for 90 feet” and a stolen base makes the hitter’s job much easier.  He said that “base stealing is something that we do to help us hit more balls off the wall.”  To shut down the running game the defense has to work harder, while continuing to make quality pitches.  Infielders are forced to move more, creating holes.  With two things to think about Pitchers can become awkward and make more mistakes.  To have any shot of throwing runners out, the constant threat of base stealing leads to more Fastballs for the hitters.

My Most Important Thing

To maximise his players’ chances to steal bases Coach Talarico has introduced some techniques such as modified, rolling leads designed to improve jumps.  However, he emphasised that you can’t advance without having mastered the basics such as Primary and Secondary Leads and techniques for getting back to the base on a Pick Off.  Implementing and developing these techniques is one of the most straightforward areas to practice, with little need for resources beyond some space and a choice to make time for it.  Baseball is often referred to as a “game of inches” and we’ve all come out on the wrong side of a bang-bang play.  If you make the time to practice your leads, reads and jumps you’ll end up on the right side of those close plays more often and will have laid the foundation to add some exciting base running to your system.

Last Up: Rocke Musgraves

On Deck: Sean McDermott


tagged under: baseball, coaching, mlb, softball, base running, cardinals, stolen base

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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