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Aug 2, 2008
I am going to start teaching our 10-Uers sliding at next sundays practice. I have done some research but I would like to know your preffered method, nothing fancy yet just feet first and pop up. I have read that the hands should be off the ground and was wondering why?

May 13, 2008
Mostly to prevent jammed wrists, broken fingers, sore shoulders, etc. If they learn to slide on their butts then they shouldn't feel the need to put their hands near cleats.
Dec 28, 2008
I have a video series if you are interested in "seeing" but will share the same concepts here for you so I'm not just doing a "sales pitch".

Step 1 - Talk through what their fears are with sliding - They will be honest with you and tell you that they are afraid of hurting their leg (ankle/knee) and of getting "strawberries." Honest fears as they see a lot of girls do those things and neither looks good. Explain that you will walk them through how those things happen and how they can avoid them so they don't have to be afraid of them.

Step 2 - Have them sit on the ground indian style (criss cross applesauce is a term girls that age use a lot) and then extend the leg that is on top (by that I mean one knee is on top of 1 foot.) When they extend it the foot should still be under the knee and their legs should be making either a figure 4 or backwards figure 4. Explain this is the starting position. However, you will likely have 1 girl who ends up pulling her foot out from underneath her knee and has it beside her knee instead. Very typical for girls who've slid in the past and who slide more sideways than flat on their bottoms. Show the difference and get them to realize that it is a very small difference of where the foot is, only a couple of inches. However, then get them to see the difference on the knee. If the foot is under the knee it forces the knee to be bent, while if it is beside the knee (or you slide sideways) the knee can lock up. The problems with ankles/knees comes in when you slide with a ton of speed/force into a non moveable object and that force comes back to the ankle/knee. But if the foot is under the knee, and it is bent, then the force will just cause the knee to continue bending (very natural motion) to disipate the force and voila, you walk away instead of limping away.

Step 3 - Try to pull them in this "sliding" position, but don't put a ton of effort into it. What you, they, will find out is that their butts have all of the weight on them which in contact with the ground then causes a great deal of friction. Friction is a force that is hard to overcome, but one that they also know by rubbing their hands together causes ... heat. Enough friction, and enough heat and we get a burn. Not a strawberry, but a "burn." If you ask them (or think through) where girls mostly have strawberries you'll find that it is on the side of the thighs, because most girls try to slide sideways. Because of their hips being where they are the weight is on the thigh, the thigh has so much friction they end up burned. However, from this position they are in if you ask them to stick their hands straight in the air, then start pulling them and ask them to slowly lay backwards they/you will find that an amazing thing happens, immediately at the point where their body weight is distributed they will suddenly effortlessly be sliding along the ground as you pull them. [This is a key reason their hands shouldn't touch the ground, if they are in a position for hands to be able to touch the ground they aren't really sliding, they are seat dropping and experiencing friction.]

Step 4 - Have another coach stand opposite you and the two of you will hold a bat between you below your waists (must spread legs wide enough that you have support). One girl at a time will sit in her figure 4 on the ground and extend her arms to hold the bat. She'll use the bat as leverage like a monkey bar and will simply try to arch her back to get the weight off of her bottom and get as near to flat as she can. It's almost like she's swinging, just starting out seated. She has to figure out how to use her arms to pull and arch at the same time in order to move forward. Once they get it, then the rest is cake.

Step 5 - They should have learned how to distribute their weight by now, but overcoming the initial friction is very tough to do. Talk through how that felt and ask them if they think it would be easier without the starting friction (bottom already on the ground.) The next step is to have them standing in the air, with the leg that they would extend behind them, almost like a lunge. The hold the bat as before and just try to explode that extension leg from behind them forward and get the other leg tucked under to make their figure 4. It will take several times to get the hang of this.

Step 6 - Once they've got the hang of exploding their extension leg forward you can talk through how much easier it might be to have a little bit of speed. So have them stand 3-4 steps behind where you are holding the bat and run to it and do the same thing. You/they will see that it is actually much easier to slide the faster you are going. So this is a good point to talk through (and you demonstrate) what happens normally, girl runs fast until she gets close to the base, then slows down almost to a crawl and does a seat drop and not a real slide. Then ask them if they think you can do a REAL slide by going slow. Review friction etc to get them to realize you have to go fast.

Step 7 - You and other coach keep scooting farther and farther out into the field so they have more room to run and keep repeating the same thing.

Step 8 - At some point you'll notice that their bodies really are sliding effortlessly and want to go forward but their arms are holding them back from doing so. So you need to teach them (starting back on the ground in figure 4, with helmets on) how to roll backwards and tuck chin in to chest and never lose sight of their toes. Do this multiple times, progressively getting faster and faster until they can lay down without slamming their head on the ground.

Step 9 - Have them run to bat, do the slide and eventually let go of the bat and lay it back. Their shoulder blades should end up dirty but their helmets should not touch the ground because their chins are tucked.

Step 10 - Have them go to the outfield and take their cleats off. Turn them lose to start sliding on their own. It is very easy to slide on the grass and practice the drill.

You can end that practice by just explaining that if they really want to become great sliders they can practice that on their own if they get to the park early, or want to stay late, or can even do it in their own back yard or something.

Next Practice: Start right back down on the ground reviewing how to arch and distribute weight holding on to the bat, standing, running few steps, running full speed, how to rock back and then letting go. After this practice girls should be ready to try to slide on their own on the field.

Next Practice: Do the reviews just running and holding the bat, then running but letting go.

Idea with repeating is that you want to help those that do learn quickly just continue to build confidence and give those that have a harder time picking it up the chance to learn in an easy environment that they become more and more familiar with.

Hope that helps, and again, I do have a video series if you are that interested and would like to see it being done and see other drills that they can do. Series also includes dive backs, slide byes, and diving head first.
Mar 2, 2009
Suffolk, VA
One drill I use is (takes approx 20-25 minutes 1st day, 10-12 next and less the 3rd day to get her to the point of comfortably sliding on her own! - Make her do this 2-3 days in a row to ensure she learns from repitition and continually learns mechanics to be fluid and not hurt herself):
Runner sits on ground to learn proper position, lead foot toe pointed up-heel off the ground, tucked leg, Chin tucked... Then I have one person (dad/mom/coach) and I face the runner and each of us holds the hand of the baserunner closest to us (Grip like we are ready to arm wrestle). Runner WALKS a few steps forward (we walk backwards) and on command, the runner tucks her leg and throws her lead leg out (with help of coach suporting the leg) and we walk her to the ground in a proper sliding position. We do this several times so she gets the mechanics correct. We then have her go to a slow run apprx 15-20 feet, using same technique to give her comfort of learning w/o getting hurt. Again, several times to the point she actualy tells YOU she wants to try on her own. I make her do a few more so her confidence is high, then she runs on her own about 30 feet. We correct little things like tucking her chin, being aggresive into the slide, hands back.. then she does a few from the base, takes her lead from a pitcher's motion and we yell "groundball", she races to base into a slide to break up teh force play! Often they ask to do extra cause they know have confidence and seem excited they've learned. (Game like situation adds excitemnet for them.)
** one day - use eggs.. runner holds ONE egg in each hand! They like running w/ eggs to learn to keep their hands from hitting the ground. Its fun for them!
**** Run sliding drills from leads simulating breaking up a force play.
*** Teach them hook slides and run drills where catcher:
1) Pitch ball: baserunner steals on pitcher's motion and catcher makes her throw to 2B. This is my favorite as it incorporates Catchers glove-glove throwdowns and baserunner works timing off pitcher's motion and hook slides (couple reps to 2B and a couple to 3B).
2) catcher's blocking balls and throwing down and baserunners get work hook-slides. (Works catcher's blocking skills and then having to retrieve the ball and make throw while baserunner works her leads and reacts to ball in the dirt and hook-slides.)
Nov 21, 2008
I used your suggestions at our last practice. We are still indoors so we had the girls sliding on a big padded mat with blankets on it. Half of the girls said they already new how to slide so we let them demonstrate before we got started (kinda funny.) We pretty much went through your list step by step, towards the end even the girls who thought they new how to slide were impressed with how much they learned. They came away more confident and not afraid to commit to the slide, any girl who slid with her hands down had to go through the next time holding eggs which they thought was fun. Thanks for the advice, I'll have to get your dvd now.


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