Sliding Techniques for Baseball


Authored by Rodney Southern in Outdoors 
Published on 11-30-2009

The art of sliding has changed over the years. Back in the old days, players simply would either not slide at all or they would slide in the traditional feet first way. Now, you see players sliding feet first, sideways and face first with regularity. This article will take a look at the various ways to slide in baseball, and decide which ones are most effective.

The traditional slide is feet first, and it is still the most direct and effective way to slide in baseball. Sliding into the bag feet first is not as simple as it might look. You have to time it in such a way that the base does not catch in your cleats. You have to make sure you start the slide at the right time or you will come to an embarrassing halt a few feet short. The key is to slide when you are two body lengths from the bag. This puts you sliding into the bag just right.

A variation of the traditional feet first slide is the hook slide. This is a feet first slide that simply comes around from the outside rather than straight into the bag. This slide is effective when stealing a base and the throw is coming in directly on the left side of the bag. It can allow you to avoid the tag easier because you are farther from the fielder’s glove when they catch the ball.

The face first slide is one that is fairly controversial. The reason is because the odds of injury seem higher with the face first slide. I say seems because I used it throughout my baseball career and never had a problem. If you are going to use the head first slide, then you need to make sure you grip your batting gloves in your hands to keep from jamming a finger. It is very easy to catch a finger on the bag and break it. I have seen it happen.

The face first slide is highly effective because it gives you more “blank space” for the fielder’s to miss the tag. If you time it right, you can slide to the outer part of the base and make the tag even more difficult. When you do this use only your left hand to reach out and catch the bag.

The bulldozer is not really a slide but it has become prevalent in the world of baseball today. This is when you are approaching home plate and the catcher has the ball. Players will bulldoze the catcher in an attempt to dislodge the ball. Personally I think this move should be outlawed because the risk of injury is high both for the runner and the catcher. Still, it is currently a viable way to advance on the base paths.

Each of these slides has pros and cons, and can help you to excel at different points in a given game. The key is to understand them all and to know when to use each of them. The feet first slide is the ideal way to slide, but the others have value as well.


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