Sliding in Softball: The Pop-up Slide
In softball, a pop-up slide works perfectly when you need to slide into a base and quickly bounce up off the ground. The pop-up slide and the standard figure-four slide are executed very similarly; essentially, everything you do on the way to the base will the same for both types of slides. It’s at the moment you make contact with the bag when things change:
- Start sprinting to the base.
- When you are about three or four strides away from the base, start getting low.
- Start bending your knees deeper with each stride, leaning back, and shifting your weight to your left side.
- With most of your weight shifted to the left side of your body, bend your left knee and tuck your left ankle beneath your right knee.
- Once your legs are on the dirt, lean your torso even further back to avoid “sitting up.”
- Your right foot will reach the base first — this is when you pop up. Using the momentum gained from your sprint, allow the bottom of your right foot to push into the side of the base. Simultaneously push off the ground by pressing your left leg’s shin and foot into the ground. This leverage, coupled with your speed, should pop you right up onto the bag.
- After popping up, immediately get into position to take the next base if the opportunity arises.
Hot Tip: Use the Left Leg!
Many beginning softball players may learn the basic slide on their right leg instead of their left. This is fine, but only for beginners. At the more advanced levels, you’ll have to be quick on your feet and use any slide you can — the basic slide, the pop-up slide, the hook slide, or the head-first dive — to avoid the tag. Learning everything on the same leg will prevent you from needing to slow down and stutter step to get the correct foot forward. When you are mid-stride and the play is on the line, you’ll need every second you can get!
Why Pop Up?
As mentioned before, the only difference between the pop-up slide and the figure-four slide is what happens at the bag. The basic slide probably won’t allow you the opportunity to get up and advance to the next base. But what if the ball is thrown off-target? In such situations, using the pop-up slide will ensure that you can first safely make it to the bag and give you the chance to quickly take the next base.
You can also use the pop-up slide when retreating back to a bag if you aren’t comfortable with diving head-first. Whatever you do, leave your options open! A pop-up slide is a great tool to use anywhere on the diamond.