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Sliding into First


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8 replies to this topic

#1
Dobes1204

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I've heard the argument strongly debated on both sides, but I wanted some personal opinions. How do you feel about sliding into first? Does it cut down on time? Does it really distract the umpire into thinking you are safe when you are really out? Is it safer (meaning you are less prone to getting hurt)? What are your thoughts?

#2
Titan09

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First of all, I would like to say that I am definitely against sliding into first base. No, I have not actually done any experiments with a stop watch to show that sliding causes you to get the base slower, but I have heard time and time again that it is faster to run through the base (this is, of course, assuming that you are in full stride when you hit first and not stutter stepping right before the base).

In terms of fooling the umpire...by the time a softball player gets to the level where a coach might instruct his or her players to slide into first on a close play (I have never actually heard this coaching method used), I would hope that the umpires would be skilled enough to not let a sliding base runner be a diversion when making the correct call. At the high school or collegiate levels, umpires should not be missing calls like this.

Overall, at any base, I think it is usually safer if you do not have to slide. Even if you slide with the correct form, there is always the chance you will hit the bag at a weird angle or slide into the opposing player and injury yourself or them. Of course, there are many instances when sliding is necessary at second base, third base, or home plate and I am not saying to avoid sliding at these bases. There is a reason why you are allowed to over run first base, and you should not be slowing down your momentum to go into a sliding position. RUN THROUGH THE BASE!!!

With that said, the argument could be made that running through the base could also be dangerous because you could mis-step and twist your ankle or the first baseman might be in the way and there could be a collision. In terms of mis-stepping and twisting your ankle, hopefully that does not happen but it is just a part of the game. You cannot be thinking about that when you are on your way to first. Bruises, cuts, and sprains are all a part of the game.

Now, collisions are something that can usually be avoid and should be avoided. There are two times, and only two times when I feel like sliding into first base is a better, safer, and smarter idea than running through the base.

1. If the first baseman is standing on top of the base for some reason and it is evident that you will run into her if you run through the base, it would be a good idea to slide to avoid the collision. This might also happen if the second baseman is covering first base on a bunt and she ends up having to cross over to the foul side of the base in order to catch the throw. She may end up being in your way and if you do not slide it will look more like a football game than a softball game. Safety first, slide in this situation.

2. If the first baseman is pulled off the bag because of bad throw, usually a high throw, she will probably try to swipe her glove down and tag you out. In this case, it is better to be low to the ground so avoid the tag. You are not necessarily trying to get the first as fast as you can in this situation; you are trying to make yourself harder to tag. You are more likely to be safe if you slide.

#3
SpartanIlliniCub

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The fastest way to get to a base is to run through it. If it were faster to slide, you would see track runners in the Olympics sliding through the finish line. The only possible time you might want to slide, as Titan09 said in point #2, is to slide to avoid a tag at 1st base after a bad throw.

#4
sballer4life

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I never thought I would see it happen—especially at the pro level—but one of the 2008 NPF Championship Series videos on The Softball Channel home page actually shows a player sliding into first base. The slide occurs in the top of the 7th inning, at the 3:56 minute mark of the Game #2, Innings 6 & 7 highlights video.

Katie Burkhart #7 of the Philadelphia Force pitches to Sara Larquier #21 of the Washington Glory. Larquier hits a grounder to Force second baseman Emily Friedman #31. The ball takes a hop, hits Friedman in the glove and then gets away from her. Friedman quickly chases it down and throws to Force first baseman Kellie Wilkerson #20, who makes a clean catch. Larquier slides into first base at Wilkerson’s feet just before the ball arrives.

My only explanation for Larquier’s slide is as follows: Larquier sees Friedman bobbling the ball out of the corner of her eye, and assumes she’s going to make an off-balance throw to Wilkerson. That might take Wilkerson’s foot off the bag, necessitating a tag, so Larquier slides low to avoid it. As it turned out, Wilkerson’s foot was firmly on first base, so no tag was required.

Does anyone have another theory for this seemingly bizarre play?

#5
jlurban

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The slide occurs in the top of the 7th inning, at the 3:56 minute mark of the Game #2, Innings 6 & 7 highlights video.

Here's a video still:

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#6
SpartanIlliniCub

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I know that I have seen a few major leaguers slide into first during games, so it can't be all bad.

#7
Tim

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The only time I think it's appropriate is if there's a tag play (ie, the 1st baseman had to come up the line and can't make the force).

Other than that, my main argument against it would be you've killed all your momentum and probably given up your chances of taking 2nd on an overthrow.

#8
Coach Lia

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It's never advisable to slide into first because running through the base would be faster than sliding. It would be easier to run to second if there would be a throwing error also. I see it also a little more dangerous and a possible collision between the baseman and runner.

Baserunning Fundamentals

#9
FaspitchPapa

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Coaches should teach little leagues to NEVER slide into first base.  There are a few exceptions of course, but the exceptions are too tough to grasp for the average youngster.  Just teach them to never slide into first and to get in the habit of turning to the right after over running the base and you will be fine.






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