Sliding is quite an important skill as far as baseball players are concerned. It isn’t really given as much importance as it should be. It is the responsibility of a baseball coach to teach all his players how to be able to slide safely. You might think you know everything about baseball, but did you know that there was more than one type of slide? In this post, we are going to take a look at a few of the safest types of slides which you need to know.
Sliding is a very difficult skill for anyone to practice. But if you know what you’re doing, it can be easy to learn. Still, until a player gets the opportunity to continuously practice slides, they will not have the confidence to slide during a game. The best way for you to start practicing is by using a sliding mat. You could also consider practicing where there is loose, soft dirt.
There are some basic safety points which you should always remember while sliding. The slide should always start a minimum of 4 steps from the plate. If you slide too late, you will be at risk of getting a leg or ankle injury. You will also be able to prevent your hands or fingers from getting injured by keeping them high.
Now, let’s take a look at the various types of slides:
Pop up/stand up slide
This is the safest sliding technique and also the most popular. If does offer you an advantage as compared to all other slides. With this slide, runners can advance quickly if there are any errant throws made by the team in the field. The left leg is basically bent below the right leg and the right leg is extended but not completely. The runner will always slide evenly on his butt. Slide path should always be adjusted depending on fielder position as well as where his glove is.
This slide has basically been given this name simply because of the hooked or bent positions of your legs while you are sliding & the fact that you hook or tag the bag using the back of your foot. The slide may also be adjusted so that it is either to the right or to the left depending on where the glove of the defender is. The runner will usually slide on one of his hip pockets with his entire body being tilted while sliding. The body will always be tilted to the side of the bag where you are making the slide. Always use the back of your foot. This is a slide which comes in handy for all runners who are trying to break a double play. It’s great when you are trying to avoid getting tagged by a defender too.
Reach around/Decoy slide
This decoy slide is one of the hardest to learn in baseball. It is used whenever the ball has already beat you to the bag. It is used basically to fool the person standing to make the tag. The runner will try to tag the bag with one hand while using their other hand to reach around and tag the bag from the other side. This slide is basically used just as a last resort whenever a runner finds himself with no other option. This slide will need to be started much earlier than other slides. You will have to keep some distance between yourself and bag as well. It should be such that the fielder reaches away from the bag to make a tag. This reaching motion is what the runner needs to avoid while trying to reach around it. The secret here is to be able to sucker the defender using one hand and then changing hands and reaching around for the bag while avoiding the fielder’s glove.
Before you go, you should a little something about one other type of slide, the head first slide. This slide is illegal in quite a few leagues and is one of the most dangerous slides for anyone to attempt. There is a lot of liability involved in even teaching this slide to anyone. You would much rather stay away from it altogether.
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