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High-speed Video Analysis of Head-first and Feet-first Sliding Techniques in Collegiate Baseball Players

Hosey, Robert G. MD*; Mattacola, Carl G. PhD, ATC; Shapiro, Robert PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: July 2003 - Volume 13 - Issue 4 - p 242-244

Objective To determine the method of sliding that propels the baseball athlete to the desired base in the shortest amount of time. To assess the athlete's perception of the quickest, safest, and preferred sliding technique.

Design A single occasion with repeated measures design was used. The independent variable was slide type, and the dependent variable was time.

Setting The study was conducted in October 2000 at the University of Kentucky baseball complex.

Participants Twenty collegiate baseball players.

Interventions High-speed video (to 1/200th of second) analysis of 20 collegiate baseball players performing 3 trials each of both head-first and feet-first sliding techniques. Additionally, each participant was asked to complete a sliding survey.

Main Outcome Measures The videotape of each slide performed was reviewed separately (using the same viewing equipment) by 2 of the study investigators. Slide type and time were recorded for each slide.

Results There was no significant difference between head-first versus feet-first slide times (P = 0.357). The average time for feet-first slides was 3.67 seconds, while that for head-first was 3.65 seconds. Sixty-eight percent of the players felt that head-first slides were faster than feet-first slides. Seventy-four percent identified the feet-first slide as the technique they most used, while 90% of the athletes perceived the feet-first technique to be safer.

Conclusions On average, head-first and feet-first sliding techniques employed at the end aspect of base running propel the baseball player to the base in similar times. The head-first sliding technique is perceived to be faster and more dangerous.

*Department of Family Medicine/Sports Medicine, †College of Health Sciences, and ‡College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.A.

Received for publication August 2002; accepted January 2003.

Presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Reprints: Robert G. Hosey, MD, K308 Kentucky Clinic, 740 S. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40536, U.S.A. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.