One big key to base running that often goes undervalued is sliding. Your slide could be the difference between being called safe or out. Whether you are stealing, beating out a throw
from the outfield, breaking up a double play, or popping up, your slide is always important. It is critical to go in hard when sliding. It puts pressure on the defense, and it also makes the call tougher on the umpire.

Stealing 2nd

The fastest way to get into second base is to dive head first. All of your momentum is going forward and your body should be tilted forward when running, so it is much quicker to dive rather than pull your momentum in the opposite direction (slowing up) and sliding feet first. There is a big difference between diving and going in hard and just diving and making it to the base. What you want to do is “blow in” to the bag. Do not think about getting the bag, rather think about diving past the bag and using your hands and feet to grab on. Try to wait as long as possible before beginning your dive. Continue in full speed. If you see the infielder on the inside of the bag, blow into the outside so he has to travel farther to make a tag. You can dive completely outside of the base and grab on as you pass, but make sure to stay on. This takes practice!

Breaking up a double play

Everyone respects the guys that slide in hard to second base, trying to break up the double play. Depending on the rules you have, you may be able to even take out an infielder. When breaking up the double play, always slide feet first. Slide as aggressively into the bag as possible. Throw your hands up and attempt to block the view or even the angle of the infielder.

Throws from the outfield

This depends on the play. If the throw is going to be close, dive in head first as if you were stealing the base. If you have the base for sure, but the throw is coming in, attempt a pop-up slide. A pop-up slide will allow you to get to your feet quickly and give you the ability to take the next base if the throw trickles away.

Work on your slides! It is a much-undervalued piece of the game. You never know what can make the difference! Baseball is a game of inches.

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