When playing softball, or watching people play softball, you will notice that a lot of players opt to slide to the base when they are running. There are a lot of people that believe that sliding to a base will make you faster since you are falling to the ground as you run.
But there are some ways that you can injure yourself if you slide to a base incorrectly. This guide will outline the best ways that you can slide in softball without injuring yourself.
How can I prepare for a slide?
In softball, if you are sliding to the next base, your clothes are likely to get dirty, you should not worry about this.
Make sure that you are wearing pants instead of shorts, so that your legs do not get friction burn or injured in any other way.
Even the extra layer of fabric will reduce the risk of injury on your legs.
How can I learn to do a basic slide?
This is the most important thing to learn first: the basics. Once you have the correct way of sliding nailed, you can learn to safely slide in other ways too. You need to run quickly to the base you are going to advance to. When you are around five steps away from the base, you can start the slide.
Bend your knees and shift your weight to one side of your body, usually the left side. Since you are shifting your weight to the left side of your body, bend your left knee at an angle so that your lower leg is perpendicular to your other leg and your foot is underneath your right leg. Shift your weight fully to your left leg.
Make sure you are leaning back so that your right leg is pointing straight to the base you are advancing to. Make sure your arms are behind you to catch your slide, this should be right at the end of the slide so that you do not injure your arms.
Your slide will have speed to get you to your base thanks to the momentum you gathered on your sprint to the base. Then make sure you are touching the base with you right foot, attached to the leg you are stretching straight in front of you.
Now I have the basic slide down, how do I do a hook slide?
This is the perfect tactical slide that can be performed in order to avoid getting tagged by a baseman of the opposite team. This slide can take a lot more practice and there is a higher risk of injury.
The objective is to slide to the outside of the base, not directly towards it. The hook slide will cause you to slide past the base and you can touch it with your hand as you pass it.
You should not move from your ending slide position until an umpire has called either in or out.
They are both feet first, is there a headfirst slide?
Yes, there is. This is the most likely to cause injury but can also be helpful in certain situations. This slide will require the most practice out of all the slide techniques. Make sure you are well dressed, preferably have batting gloves and a helmet on.
You should run towards the base, as you would with the other two slides, but this time lean forward. You should make sure to lead with one side of your body and put all your weight into that side of your body.
Which side you pick is personal preference. Extend one arm towards the base and make sure you are touching the base with your hand instead of touching the ground around it, this will make it easier for the umpire to call you safe.
How can I practice these without risk of injury?
There are a few ways that you can be inventive in the way that you practice your softball slides. Here is a list of them:
- Use a pillow or something soft near where you would land: if you are practicing outside of a softball game and the field is free, you can place down something soft like a pillow and keep landing on it when you slide until you think you have got your technique good enough to take the pillow away.
- Work on upper body exercises: since a slide in softball will make use of muscles that other parts of the game will not, you don’t want to risk a pulled muscle. Make sure you are training your whole body to avoid this.
- Practice with someone who knows how to slide: this is an obvious tip, but necessary to mention.
There are ways to practice these different types of slides in softball, the best way to make sure that you have the correct gear on and simply keep practicing outside of a game setting.
Make sure that you do not try any of these slides in an actual softball game if you haven’t practiced them enough, you could risk injuring yourself.