Well I have to tell you up front – they won’t all be that spectacular. The sliding catch is one of baseball’s most impressive plays, and while here we see an (unbelievable) over the shoulder sliding catch, today were going to have a look at a more traditional technique.
Whether it’s because the fielder judged the ball badly or just was too far out of position to get right underneath the ball, sometimes you have to reach for your ace in the hole and just go for it.
Bent Leg Slide Drill
This is a great drill to do right at the end of practice – the players are going to get dirty, and they’re going to have a ball doing it! But to make it a little more enjoyable, make sure you do it on a surface that’s not going to tear them up. Nice tall grass in the outfield with a pair of sweats that mom doesn’t care if they get grass stained – or you can do it on the infield surface so it doesn’t tear up their legs and it doesn’t tear up their uniforms and things like that.
It’s an invaluable skill because you’ll have somebody in the outfield virtually on a daily or by game basis that’ll be into a bent leg slide. If they know how to do it, they’re going to avoid getting themselves injured, number one. Number two, they’re going to have a great chance of catching the ball.
The technique is fairly simple, it’s a slide just as if you’re going to slide into second base or third base, except you’re going to extend your hand. So when the guys go out there and do it, you’re going to notice them working on a regular slide. I put them about 25′ away from me, I’ll yell go, flip the ball, and they’ll go into a slide.
After they get in the reps and they get comfortable with it and then consequently when game time comes and the ball gets hit like that, they already know how to do it and they go right into it.