In starting these drills, it is assumed that no one has had formal instruction in sliding, that the players are poor sliders, amateur sliders and even "afraid" to slide. Basic to beginning instruction is finding a comfortable side for sliding, knowing how to land and using the bent-leg slide insuring safety so that injuries do not occur. A few ballplayers will find they are just as comfortable on either side; therefore, they should practice and perfect all their slides from both sides.
Drills and methods used here can be employed with equal success indoors or outdoors. If practicing indoors, use the gym floor with sweatpants and sliding pads over them. If outdoors, use the outfield grass, preferably wet grass (sprinkle with water beforehand).
In the beginning, use no shoes. Inside, remove sneakers. Outside, remove spikes. Later on as the ballplayer becomes proficient, he can wear his shoes.
When to Slide
1. To avoid a tag.
2. To stop at the base.
3. To break up a double play.
4. To get back to base.
5. Always when play is close.
Length of Slide: 15' or two body lengths from base.
Direction of Slide
1. Sliding to right side, usually use right foot as takeoff foot.
2. Going to left side, use left foot as takeoff.
3. As takeoff occurs, the arms are thrown up, the upper body is extended backwards and the feet forward, all somewhat close to parallel to the ground.
Landing: On buttocks, head up, arms out for balance and toes upward.
1. In addition to above, tuck left leg or right leg in a bent position and place under other leg.
2. Use the bent-leg position to teach the beginner to insure that the boy will slide and injury will be avoided. Thus, he develops confidence and aggressive baserunning techniques.
1. Bent-Leg and Pop-Up
As you slide, place foot of extended leg on base, throw weight back and raise body in one motion. Continue running to next base.
2. Bent-Leg and Breakup Double Play
Raise foot of extended leg to bother footwork of pivot man.
3. Bent-Leg and Hook Slide
Slide right or left of bag three-to-four feet, depending on player's size. When approaching base, bend extended leg (top leg) back, and it will hook bag when sliding by. Remember, the left foot hooks the bag sliding to the right, and the right foot hooks the base sliding to the left.
4. Real Hook Slide
Same landing position as previously discussed; however, both legs remain extended toward the bag. As the bag is contacted, the toe of the inside foot will hook the base and the knee will bend at the same time. The outside foot will continue past the bag and off the ground. On the hook slide, if sliding right, hook with the left foot and leg, keeping the right leg extended and off the ground. If sliding left, hook with the right foot and leg, keeping the left leg extended and off the ground.