Learning how to slide in softball is essential if you want to improve your performance and also that of your team. And this is because it will help you reach the bases faster than when you are running as it increases your speed. It is also fun and so sliding will make sure that you enjoy playing this beautiful game. Professional softball players make it look very easy, but it can lead to injuries if you do not know how to do it right. Although your will get good at sliding as you practice it more, it is essential to know the basic technique of doing it. Below is a simple guide with the necessary steps you should follow and tips on how to do it.
Step 1: Sprint at Full Speed
You probably sprint fast towards the bases when playing softball but if you want to slide you should make sure you are going as swift as possible. Do not be afraid to get dirty and also make sure that you have comfortable softball shoes as they will not only affect your speed but will also influence the effectiveness of your slide. It is also important to wear pants as they help prevent injuries, and you can even have sliding shorts underneath your regular baseball pants.
Step 2: Time the Slide Perfectly
It is important to know when to start sliding if you want to learn and become good at it. You should always make sure that you initiate the slide four steps away from the base. And if you do not know where this is you can determine this by counting the steps that you need to reach the base.
Step 3: Starting the Slide
The first thing that you should do to initiate the slide is to shift the weight of your body to the left side. Before doing this, you should first lower your body, and to do this, you should bend your legs. However, you should be very careful not to strain your legs or any part of your body unnecessarily as this may lead to injuries.
Step 4: Make a Four
As you are starting the slide, you should bend your left knee carefully into a position that creates a four like shape. Also, make sure that you tuck your left leg below the right one and extend the right one forward. When doing this, you should also try to shift more of your weight on the left side of your body as this will make it easy for you to slide and also make you comfortable while also increasing your speed.
Step 5: Lean Back
As you are sliding, you should lean back as this will ensure that you do not hit the base when sitting up. By leaning back, you will also lower your center of gravity, and this will make sure that you have better control of your body and also that you can stop quickly. Apart from leaning back, you should also make sure that your arms are behind you and that you do not wave them in the air.
Step 6: Propelling Yourself and Touching the Base
The biggest mistake that you can do when sliding is to try and drive your body with your hand or legs because this will only slow you down and also increase the probability of getting injured. And so this also helps to emphasize the need to sprint as fast as you can because this speed is what will help propel you during the slide. The last thing that you need to know is how to touch the base because the slide will be for nothing without this. Due to the position that you will be at when sliding, you should always hit the base with your right leg because it is the one that is stretched out. Any attempt to do it with your left foot will lead to an awkward landing and also increase the probability of getting injured.
Step 7: Learn the Different Types of Slide
Once you know how to do the basic type of slide, it is also important to learn other forms such as the Hook and Pop-Up and also the Head-First Dive. Although there are different from the basic one you can still learn them easily, for example, the Pop-up will require you to use your left leg to push your body into a standing position. The Hook, on the other hand, will help you avoid a tag by sliding around the side of the base.
Learning how to slide in softball is one of those things that you cannot avoid if you want to become a good player. However, mastering the basics by following the steps above and doing a lot of practice will make things easy for you.