Coaching Tips Baseball – Head First Slide

Although not taught extensively for beginners, it can be a very valuable baserunning tool for players to learn.  Try this coaching tips baseball with your higher level teams.

What you need – You can set up a couple stations for this baseball drill, each with a line of players and a bag that they are going to slide into.  Later on, you can add players trying to tag the runner out if you like.  If you have players that are first learning this drill, you might want to try it out in the outfield to work on the technique, before you move to the infield. This one is probably much better to learn the proper technique on the grass than on the dirt.  Although eventual practicing on the dirt should take place.

How this drill works – You can run it the same as the beginner drill, except of course, the players will be going head first to the bag, instead of foot first.  There is one major advantage to sliding head first, and that is reaching for the back corner of the bag.  This should be one of the major elements taught to the player.

Runners will always approach the bag at different angles, but if they plan to slide head first, they should reach for the back corner.  This allows the runner to try and avoid the tag from the defender, who will normally guard the front of the bag.

Players should also be taught to slide properly:  ease into the slide (don’t jump up and land on the chest, this will knock the wind out of them), make the slide an extension of their running to the bag, not a completely separate motion and they should begin a head first slide about 2 strides away from the bag (6 to 8 feet).

Result – This is simply an additional skill that can be taught to base runners, so they can reach a bag safely.

Note:  Players may have a hard time nailing down the proper technique for sliding, and this can cause unnecessary pain to the ankle, knee and the behind, so learning good technique on the grass is probably the best way to go to start.  Once a player becomes more confident with their slide, then you can move to the shale infield.

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