The slide is an action of a player that makes the player to slide on the ground when the base is near. But, why the player does that? Even though running is faster than sliding, but players have their own choices. Read further to know how to perfectly slide in baseball.
Sliding isn’t faster than running but it has many other benefits. Players in the baseball slide for two reasons: indistinctness and stickiness – probably!
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 a bit 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 situation of the game, the player needs to decide whether it is highly needed at the current point. It is because sliding increases the chance of injury.
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 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 up the ground.
Bent-Leg Slide: Your dominant foot at the front with your toes and leg straight while the second one 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-mentioned 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 lied parallel to the floor.
Backdoor Slide: Do same as the bent-leg slide but you need to slide away from the base as well. When your shoulder is on your side, rotate yourself to touch the base with your hand. It is 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 do so by passing your hand first and touching 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. You need to make defender leave the place while sliding so the throw gets disturbed.
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:
1) When you think to slide, just do it – don’t change your mind; injuries usually happen when the player thinks to slide and doesn’t do and then does it
2) 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
3) Do the slide that you feel comfortable at – don’t risk yourself just to try a new thing in the field
4) Practice the slides if you can so you can know whether doing it on a big day might lead to injuries
5) Avoid sliding into the first base unless it is very important to slide; also don’t do spikes up
6) Don’t go for the headfirst slide initially as it leads to major injuries, try for the feet first
7) Slide at the last moment with the right speed
8) Don’t let your hands touch your ground so that hands, fingers, and wrist don’t get injured
There are several exercises that might help you to effectively slide in baseball.
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 10 times on each side.
Leg Cradle: This exercise improves all kinds of baseball movements. You need to life your one foot off the floor and squat while standing on another one. Now take your right knee to the chase along with putting right hand under the same hand knee with right ankle receiving 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 the acceleration mainly. Initiate with the pushup position with the elbow stretching. Using the same situation, extend your legs powerfully with 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 the feet hard on the floor.