The slide is an important skill to be an effective base runner. By learning how to slide you can beat throws and tags that could turn a loss in to a win.
Why do We slide in Baseball?
Sliding isn’t faster than running, but it has many other benefits. Players in the baseball slide for two reasons: they don’t get out and score a run.
To understand why we slide in baseball, first, we need to understand what is happening in the game. Tag out is one way that makes the player leave the field. One reason to slide is to avoid being tagged.
When the catcher and the baserunner stand at the same height, it becomes easy for the catcher to tag out the runner. However, when the runner slides, the process becomes slower, and the runner reaches the base on time.
There might be other reasons as well. Running faster might make the player overrun the base. Baserunners slide to avoid overrunning the base. Also, sliding prevents contact with the defensive player standing at the base.
Sliding is an essential but not necessary component to complete the run. Depending on the game’s situation, the player needs to decide whether it is necessary at the current point. It is because sliding increases the chance of injury.
Different Types of Baseball Slides
- Sliding is more than just gliding on the ground. It has different types as well.
Head First Slide: As the name indicated, it is the head first. The hands come in first, then the head and then the body. It is just like diving into the pool. Chin doesn’t touch the ground while legs should remain straight. It is one dangerous type that might lead to injury. Only do it when you are sure to keep your head lifted off the ground.
Bent-Leg Slide: Your dominant foot at the front with your toes and leg straight while the second is bent at the knee. Your lower body represents the shape of the number ‘4’ when you do this foot first slide.
Hook Slide: The slide is the same as the above slide, but the front feet are pointed outward, not inward.
Pop-up Slide: Your posture would be similar to the bent-leg slide but make it flatten, so it lay parallel to the floor.
Backdoor Slide: Do the same as the bent-leg slide, but you also need to slide away from the base. When your shoulder is on your side, rotate yourself to touch the base with your hand. It is an ideal slide when the throw makes to the defender before you. It will help you gain more time.
Hands First Slide: In the headfirst slide, your passage might be blocked by the body of the catcher. You need to take one side, either left or right, to reach the base. You can pass your hand first and touch the home plate that you need to do only once.
Take Out Slide: This slide is for the second base only. It is made for the double play breaking up. In this slide, your body should be in front of the defender. It would help if you made the defender leave the place while sliding, so the throw gets disturbed.
Tips for How to slide in Baseball
How to slide in baseball is entirely on the player. However, there are different tips that will help you to slide better in the game:
- When you think to slide, do it – don’t change your mind; injuries usually happen when the player thinks to slide and doesn’t do and then does it.
- Be prepared and alert in the field – look at the fielder and guess where the ball will hit so you can shift your slide accordingly.
- Do the slide that you feel comfortable at – don’t risk trying a new thing during the middle of the game.
- Practice the slides if you can so you can know whether doing it on a big day might lead to injuries
- Avoid sliding into the first base unless it is very important to slide; don’t do spikes up.
- Don’t go for the headfirst slide initially as it leads to significant injuries; try the feet first method.
- Slide at the last moment with the right speed
- Don’t let your hands touch your ground so that hands, fingers, and wrist don’t get injured.
A few great Exercises for effective Slide in Baseball
Several exercises might help you to slide in baseball effectively.
- Backward Lunge with a Twist: It lowers the injury risk and put pressure on the hip flexors. Into a lunge, step back with your left leg. Twist your torso at the front leg while bending back a bit to try to touch the sky with the left arm. Go into the next lunge and do it at least ten times on each side.
- Leg Cradle: This exercise improves all kinds of baseball movements. You need to lift one foot off the floor and squat while standing on another one. Now take your right knee to the chase and put your right hand under the same knee with the right ankle to receive your left hand. Take the right leg to as near to your chase as possible when clutching your left glute. Take the step forward with the right foot and change feet. Do it ten times on each side.
- Sprinter Starts: It is for acceleration mainly. Initiate with the pushup position with the elbow stretching. Using the same situation, extend your legs powerfully by adding the momentum of your arms—pace forward 10 yards after that. Use the motion momentum to move forward. When you sprint, be sure to hit your feet hard on the floor.