Sliding drills shouldn’t be overlooked at practice

There are so many intricacies to both baseball and softball that oftentimes a lot of fundamental skills are overlooked during practice. One of these small details is the art of sliding. While it may seem like a waste of time to address at practice, proper sliding techniques can make a big difference in games.

The problem with making the right sliding decision is that most of the time the player needs to rely on his or her instincts and in-game experience. It is possible, however, to practice sliding and it's important that coaches take the time to help players learn the proper ways to go into another base safely.

Pitchers should be excluded from sliding drills. While it'll be effective training for other players, there is some risk of injury and it's far more important that pitchers are healthy than know how to slide properly. All other players should be a part of the drill so they don't do something like this during a game.

Players should be notified that they will be doing sliding drills at practice so that they can wear youth sliding shorts that day. Without these, they may give themselves painful scrapes on their legs. Open bottom baseball pants are also great for players who slide a lot both in games and practice. Additionally, sliding drills should be conducted either on a well-groomed infield or damp outfield grass. 

Coaches should go through the proper mechanics of a bent-leg slide, the pop-up slide, the hook slide, sliding to break up double plays and sliding into home. Players should put as much effort into these drills as linemen in the NFL Pro Bowl, i.e. not much. The important part is grasping the mechanics.