Sunday, April 13, 2014

Diving Into First Base... Or, Running Straight Through: Which Is Faster!?

Diving Head First or Running Straight Through The Bag!?

This question and debate has gone on for as long as players began to slide. 


The question remains, which is faster?

Often players will say, "Diving is faster!" However, how do they know? Did it just "feel" faster. There is a reason we have scientists... to figure stuff out by using rigorous testing and removing anecdotal evidence from the equation.

Although sliding does stretch you out, and brings you immediately closer to the bag, you stop producing any force in the direction of the bag an invariably slow down considerably.

However, running requires a relatively upright posture, but you do have the advantage of still propelling yourself to the bag.

This video below goes through a number of the components.

Now, keep in mind. This was a test on first base, and the slide was started upwards of 10 feet away.

What does that mean? What's the implication?

Well, on other bases you can't run through at full speed. You have to stop your movement completely. Which means that sliding is most likely faster when heading to Second or Third (and home would vary on the situation, as catchers can currently block home plate).

Is there a distance you can begin sliding from that would actually get you to first quicker?

Another important factor that they bring up is injury. Even if the difference between diving head first and running through the bag are virtually identical. Diving poses the opportunity for injury.

Josh Hamilton is one of many ball players that has injured
themselves diving into first -