Whether you are about to steal a base or you are on third ready to run home, knowing how to slide into a base can be the difference between scoring a point or being tagged out. While a slide may seem like an easy task, there are a few pointers that you should consider to perfect your slide. Today, we are going to look at a few tips on how to slide into a base.
Getting The Posture Down
Practice makes perfect and learning the proper sliding posture will make all of the difference when it comes time to execute the slide. To practice, your posture, all you need is yourself and some room to sit on the ground.
Start by sitting on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Now take one leg and fold it under your opposite knee to form a figure 4. On your forward foot, keep your toes pointed forward and outwards. To figure out which leg you want to put forward, try the figure 4 pattern both ways to see which feels more comfortable for you.
For most players who are right handed, putting their right foot out is usually more comfortable. For left handers, the left leg is usually more comfortable out.
Avoid Putting Weight On Your Side
When you go to slide, you will want to make sure that you keep yourself as safe as possible. Sliding with weight on your side can cause injury to your side or legs. To avoid this, you will want to ensure that you are centering your weight on your butt when you go into the slide. After all, this is where you have the most cushion and it can usually take more of a beating than other body parts. This is going to be the safest and easiest way to slide.
Keep Your Hands Safe
Going into a slide, you are going to be moving your body at a decent rate of speed, most likely toward another human being. This can result in potential contact, so making sure that you are keeping yourself as safe as possible is vital.
Your hands and wrists can be an area that can become injured in a slide if not positioned correctly. To keep them out of harms way, place your hands in the air during your slide. This will prevent them being stepped on, smashed against, or jammed during the slide. It is also a great way to keep your balance as well.
A good slide requires that you balance yourself correctly. To aid in keeping your balance, make sure that you keep your chin down and your core tight. This will stabilize your body as a whole and allow you to control your slide much easier. Keeping your chin tucked will help prevent your head from being thrown back with the momentum of the slide. Leaning back slightly may help with your balance as well by distributing your weight.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Sit in this position while switching up a few different variations to see which feels most comfortable for you. Once you have a position that you like, hold it for a few minutes to help train your muscles and get them used to going into that position. This will help to loosen them up and adapt them to the slide position.
To help practice the slide, you will want to first practice on a slippery surface. This can be with a piece of cardboard, slip and slide, or any other slick surface that will make sliding easier. This practice will allow you to get the motion down with the least amount of risk for injury.
Using a cone or base, set it at the end of the surface to get an understanding of how you need to slide to make proper contact with the plate. You will want to mark a 3-5 foot distance from the plate to act as a sliding zone.
Once you have mastered the slide on a slippery surface, you can start to practice on an actual baseball field. Understanding and getting used to how it feels to slide on dirt will give you the practice you need to perform at your best when it’s game time.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to slide into a base, get out there and practice to take your baseball skills to the next level!