Sliding Analysis

the softball signal game, sliding analysis

Sliding is one of those skills where the success is dependent on the players confidence and experience with success.

Sliding Analysis Considerations

When evaluating sliding, the best way to determine the success as with other skills is the outcome and the way the player feels.  Video analysis can be useful for baserunning although there are not as many technical components as there are for throwing for example.  Something you could do is to have her freeze after the slide to know exactly what happened as she arrived at the base.

One of the biggest considerations is confidence and experience.  This is where a wet field with a hill is great because they can run and practice sliding with a little momentum as they slide down the hill.  Be sure to have them wear helmets for sliding practice especially if it is being done in a gym where the surface is hard.

Technical / Tactical Skill Factors

These skills are generally about being safe and being prepared to advance to the next base.  With experience, the player will be able to react to the positioning of the defense and where the ball ends up.  If it sails past the base she is going to for example, she would look for an opportunity to advance to the next base.  Her success for this will depend on the slide and her ability to get up and go again.

Some Technical Errors for Sliding

Technical Errors

Improvement Strategies

slides too late

use break away bases for practices

front leg not up

use props that they have to hit

hands not back and up

put something in their hand like batting gloves or bean bags for example.

chin not tucked

possibly have them bite on the collar of the shirt

runner stops before the base

begins slide 1.5 body lengths from the base



Some Tactical Errors for Sliding

Tactical Factors

Improvement Strategies

not ready to advance

use game situations

slides to the wrong side of the base

discuss & practice situations


gain through practices and games



Psychological Requirements

Softball is a game that has a lot of psychological barriers for athletes during competition.  The psychology of catching requires skills that are going to have a

  • Likes to take risks – not afraid to get dirty
  • Confidence – does not hesitate (could cause injury)
  • Confidence – able to control a game and be vocal
  • Broad Focus – looking for opportunity to continue on
  • Relaxation – sliding is easy

Some Psychological Challenges for Sliding

Psychological Factors

Improvement Strategies

afraid of getting hurt

use progressions

not alert to the defense

practice situations

not prepared on the pitch

use a pitcher in training



Physical Requirements

The following biomotor skills are important in sliding analysis:

  • Coordination – assisting timing and then advancing
  • Balance – ability to get back up quickly if required
  • Speed – crucial to the success of sliding
  • Suppleness – prevents injury

Some Physical Challenges for Sliding

Physical Factors

Improvement Strategies

lack of speed

pre season training

timing is off

coordination drills



Performance Outcome Factors

Every softball skills is executed with a desired outcome.  That outcome however can be broken down just as the skill itself is.  Here are some expected outcomes that you might have for sliding.

Expected Outcome

Mechanics / Biomechanics

runner is safe

is in contact with the base

runner is not injured

hands, head and foot are up and is facing away from the ball

runner is ready to advance

knows where the ball is




As coaches, error detection and correction is what we do.  There is a time and a place however for sliding analysis to occur.  During competition is generally not the time.  Following are a few recommended paths you can take to help your players improve their skills.



Break down the skill


Kinesthetic feedback

have her check in with her body

Skill instruction

use a checklist

Provide a mentor

have them watch others