Baseball Drills - The Art Of Not Sliding Into First Base
By Nate Barnett
The topic of whether to slide into first base or not always resurfaces every year it seems. Does it slow a runner down?
Should coaches teach it in their baseball drills? Is there some sort of advantage?
Usually the discussion surrounding the topic is regarding the speed in which the runner passes over first base. That is
not the topic of this article. Sliding into first base greatly reduces a runner's ability to move to second base should there
be an errant throw from an infielder.
Good baseball instruction will focus on the preparation and positionment of the base runner to head towards second base
when there is an overthrow at first base. As a runner passes over first base at full running speed he will then begin to break
down his stride quickly, but naturally. This is a fairly simply movement and is recognized by the widening of the steps until
the hitter is in an athletic stance position slightly inside the baseline. As this breakdown of the stride occurs, the hitter
glances to the right to see if the throw has been tossed down the first base line. If so, the runner breaks for second base
in a straight path.
The problem I have with sliding into first base is simply that all momentum is stopped at the end of the slide. Usually,
a hitter who chooses to slide into first base has seen something that indicates a bad throw may happen. If the first baseman
comes off of the base, he will then have to tag the runner. Sliding makes it more difficult for this to happen. However, if
a runner's momentum is stopped and there is a bad throw, momentum must be created once again in order for the runner to get
to second base successfully.
All things equal then, sliding into first base is highly unproductive from the stand point of advancing bases. There is
also a good chance that a runner choosing to sprint through the base will be safe if the throw pulls the first baseman off
the bag early.
About the Author
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in
the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their
vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued
his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at http://bmibaseball.com/blog
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.
Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations,
video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.