Sliding is a part of baseball, which is often neglected. Coaches oftendo not practice that part of the game because they do not know enough about sliding techniques, or shy away from it because of the injury factor. Coaches should realize that good sliding technique helps teams win games and that the injury factor is much greater when sliding is not practiced. The cool thing is sliding practice provides so much fun for players, even for high school aged players. Additionally, sliding day can be held on a day that practice was scheduled but the field is too wet to get on, so coaches do not have to waste a day of practice because of a wet field.
First, coaches should learn the correct and different methods of sliding, including the pop-up, hook slide, fade away and head first techniques. Feet-first sliding is the recommendation for all players, but for those, who insist on going head first, practice of that technique is necessary.
Having players, wear a couple of layers of old pants that mom says they can get wet and dirty, or some football pants with padding, is best. On wet grass, with a couple of bases set down, coaches have players (with helmets on) work on the various slides. Kids will obviously slide further on wet grass, so that must be taken into account, but it is worth it for the extra safety wet grass provides and the added fun for kids. Coaches can staff the bases to mimic throws coming from different directions to help players make decisions on which slide and direction is best for the situation.
Of course, some factors make sliding practice somewhat cumbersome. Coaches must be careful not to ruin the grass by sliding in the same spots. In addition, players will be wet and dirty when they leave practice so car interiors must be a consideration when players leave practice. As implied, clothes may be ruined so old, worn out clothing is best and this practice should be held on warm days so players are not cold when they get wet. Warning
moms of this sliding day is essential to avoid the after practice wrath of parents. Finally, when a rainy day does not come along, coaches can wet down an area with a hose, when available. Guaranteed messy fun!
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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