Baseball Third-Base Coach

Baseball Third Base Coach

Third-base coaches, as their name suggests, are members of a baseball team’s coaching staff positioned behind third base when their team is batting. These coaches are essential for instructing base runners. Keep reading to learn what a third-base coach is in baseball, their roles, responsibilities, and skills, as well as their importance to a baseball team.

Third-Base Coach Definition

While their team is up to bat, third-base coaches stand directly behind third base, in foul territory. These coaches give players guidance while on second and third base, making important calls about when the players should continue running, or when they should instead stay safe on base. Third base coaches also give critical directions to batters at home plate.

Third-Base Coach Roles and Responsibilities

Third-base coaches take their position behind the baseball diamond’s third bag when their team is on offense, but much of these coaches’ work starts before the game even begins. This particular position requires a coach with strong investigative scouting abilities and an abundance of baseball knowledge. As the person responsible for feeding batters signals about when to bunt, take a pitch, or even intentionally force a walk, successful third-base coaches are well-informed about the opposing pitchers’, infielders’, and outfielders’ strengths and weaknesses. In order to make solid calls to each batter on their team, they must know the strengths and weaknesses of their own players as well. 

Awareness of both your team and the opponent’s team is important for third-base coaches, as they are responsible for giving feedback to players running the bases, too. For example, knowing the strength of the opposing right fielder’s arm might influence a coach to tell their player to stay on second or, contrarily, to round to third. Or, the individual speed of a coach’s own player on second base might lead him to ask the player to steal, whereas if another slower player were in the same situation, they would instead give the direction to stay put on the base.

Scouting out opposing teams’ defenders in advance is an important part of a third-base coach’s job, as is studying their own team’s lineup to prepare to make the best possible calls throughout each game.

Third-Base Coach Skills

  • Quick thinking
  • Knowledge
  • Awareness
  • Communication

A third-base coach must be extremely quick-thinking. Once a ball is in play, there are often fewer than seconds to direct players about the best baserunning move. These coaches must think quickly, with an ability to make well-informed, split-second decisions. 

Great third-base coaches also possess a lot of baseball knowledge. They should be deeply knowledgeable about both their team and the opposing team’s rosters, particularly about the strengths, weaknesses, and habits of each player. Additionally, a third-base coach should understand the best play in every possible situation. For example, the place on the field the ball lands, the pitching count, the number of outs in the inning, and many more factors all should be quickly weighed by the coach before they give any instructions. 

Third-base coaches must keep constant awareness while their team is on offense, noting what the score is, the batting count, and the number of outs their team has at all times.

Finally, a good third-base coach has an excellent communicative relationship with every player on their team. They should constantly be communicating with the batters, as well as runners on second and third base, reminding them what is going on at any given moment of the baseball game. 


What is a third-base coach in baseball?

A third-base coach is the baseball coach positioned behind third base while their team is up to bat. Third-base coaches possess excellent communication skills, constant awareness of what is going on in the game, a depth of baseball and scouting knowledge, and quick decision-making skills. Third-base coaches often make the difference between an out or a gained base.

What does a third-base coach do in baseball?

A third-base coach provides directions to their team’s base runners while they are on second and third base. Some base running calls a third-base coach might make include directing a player to steal, reminding a player to “tag up”, telling a player to remain on base, and much more. Third-base coaches also feed the batting player instructions, such as when to bunt the ball, when to take a pitch, where to aim their hit, etc.