Thursday, 12 July 2012

Softball Drills - The Basics of Sliding

ByBecky Wittenburg

Sliding is a crucial move that players are very hesitant to learn. Often, this hesitation is based on a fear of getting hurt. Because players will never get over this fear until they actually start practicing sliding, coaches should do everything they can to make learning to slide as easy as possible. The following softball drills teach the basics of sliding in a way that will soon make players comfortable performing this base running move as often as necessary.

Sliding Stance

The first thing players should learn in their sliding lesson is the basic sliding stance. Players should start by sitting on the ground with both legs extended straight in front of them. Then, they should practice folding one knee under to see which position is more natural and comfortable for them.

When they assume the stance, they should have one leg extended with the foot pointed toward the base, the other leg bent at the knee with the foot pointed behind them, and both hands raised in the air. Players will be tempted to put their hands down to break their fall as they go into the slide, but lowering their hands will only increase their risk of injury. They should slide down onto their thighs and buttocks.

Learning to Slide

Coaches can make the first attempts at sliding easier by practicing on a wet field after it has rained or with the help of a hose or sprinkler. Before holding a sliding practice, instruct players to wear grungy clothes. Players will be better prepared to slide properly on a wet surface than a hard one. Starting out the practice by sliding on the wet grass can be very helpful.

If a coach is feeling adventurous, he or she could bring a slip & slide to practice. Wet down a long piece of plastic by placing a water hose on top. On a hot day, players will be more than willing to practice their slide on a slippery plastic surface.

Scrambled Eggs Drill

If players have learned the basic sliding position but are still having trouble keeping their hands in the air, the scrambled eggs drill is the best way to correct their stance. To run this drill, coaches will have to bring a couple dozen raw eggs to practice. Have the players practice sliding into bases while holding one raw egg in each hand. In order to keep the eggs from breaking, the players will have to hold them high in the air. To make the drill more challenging, have players get real low during the slide, or have them slide into one base and then immediately hop up to run to the next one.

And if you'd like to see more free softball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

http://www.softball-spot.com/vid/

Becky Wittenburg is a kids softball coach, and the owner and publisher of Softball-Spot.com, the web's #1 resource for fastpitch softball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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