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Thread: Study: Head first slides are faster

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Study: Head first slides are faster

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...tslidesarebest

    In Baseball, Head-first Slides Are Best
    Andrea Thompson
    Senior Writer
    LiveScience.com

    A player's slide to beat the throw at home plate is one of baseball's big thrills, especially during the postseason, which begins today. But of the two sliding styles - head-first and feet-first - which is faster?

    Head-first, says David A. Peters of Washington University in St. Louis, an engineer and avid baseball fan.

    The reasons that it's faster to lead off with your noggin all have to do with physics, Peters said.

    Specifically, it's a matter of the player's center of gravity (or center of mass) - essentially the point where gravity exerts its tug. For most people, their center of gravity is right around the stomach area, Peters said.

    Whenever you leave the ground, no matter which end of your body you lead with, your center of gravity will move forward with the speed (and momentum) you left the ground with, Peters explained.

    Two factors make you reach the base sooner if you dive head-first, Peters told LiveScience. One is that your arms are lighter than your legs, which means that as your body rotates, your arms are going to extend out farther than would your legs. Also, because your feet are still pushing off the ground as you dive, you can get a little extra acceleration.

    If you slide feet-first, your feet will dig into the ground instead, slowing your motion, Peters said.

    Some people prefer to slide feet-first though so that they can pop up when they reach the base and avoid sliding past it.

    Head-first slides are also more dangerous, Peters said, because players could jam their hands into the base. Until the 1960s and '70s, in fact, players tended to avoid sliding head-first into a base to protect their hands and faces.

    Players who do slide this way will often hold their batting gloves in their hands to keep themselves from extending their fingers as they slide, he explained. Just how many players favor each type of slide has never been calculated, but Peters estimates that it's about 50-50.
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  3. #2
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Oh boy....time for 'Redszoniest thread ever' redux

    Get me some popcorn.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    But it's not definitive:

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...e-stumped.html

    Of three published studies to test the physicists' hypothesis, none found a significant headfirst advantage, and one a disadvantage.

    "We found no statistically significant difference in speed between headfirst and feet-first sliding at all levels of play in this study," concluded University of Texas researchers in a 2002 American Journal of Sports Medicine analysis of base-stealing techniques.

    But others, including all-time stolen base champion Rickey Henderson, side with Peters and Nathan. Headfirst just feels faster.
    Another thing I remember reading is that a head-first slide forces your torso to slide along the ground, meaning there's a large surface area dragging along the ground, slowing down the slide.

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    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    I used to watch Vince Coleman and Jacob Brumfield steal bases (Including 3rd) standing up. NOW THAT is the way to go!
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Rickey Henderson = All-Time SB champ.

    #2 is Lou Brock, almost 500 SBs behind Rickey.

    Rickey slid head first.

    Ergo, head first is best.

  7. #6
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Didn't Pete Rose prove headfirst was faster? Run your tail off, launch yourself like Superman, land on the base. No drag, pure aerodynamics. The other advantage is it helps disrupt the fielder too.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    It also said:

    One study did find that headfirst sliders reached second base .02 seconds faster. Back-of-the-napkin calculations show that a runner traveling at 15 miles per hour would get an extra five inches from that .02 seconds -- and in the legendary words of Branch Rickey, baseball is a game of inches.
    I'm sure a ballplayer will take an extra 5 inches.

    What drives me nuts is when guys head-first slide into first base. Running through the base is faster than sliding, head- or feet-first.

    Pay attention to the open sky

  9. #8
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    I'm sure a ballplayer will take an extra 5 inches.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    It also said:



    I'm sure a ballplayer will take an extra 5 inches.

    What drives me nuts is when guys head-first slide into first base. Running through the base is faster than sliding, head- or feet-first.
    A slide might help convince the ump that you beat the throw.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Specifically, it's a matter of the player's center of gravity (or center of mass) - essentially the point where gravity exerts its tug. For most people, their center of gravity is right around the stomach area, Peters said.

    Whenever you leave the ground, no matter which end of your body you lead with, your center of gravity will move forward with the speed (and momentum) you left the ground with, Peters explained.

    Two factors make you reach the base sooner if you dive head-first, Peters told LiveScience. One is that your arms are lighter than your legs, which means that as your body rotates, your arms are going to extend out farther than would your legs. Also, because your feet are still pushing off the ground as you dive, you can get a little extra acceleration.

    If you slide feet-first, your feet will dig into the ground instead, slowing your motion, Peters said.
    This is also precisely why the backward outside death spiral is more difficult and slower-moving than the other death spirals in figure skating. Baseball could pick up a few tricks from that sport.

    Pull THAT out of your bag of party tricks at the office shindig this weekend, why don't you.
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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Head-first slides are also more dangerous, Peters said, because players could jam their hands into the base. Until the 1960s and '70s, in fact, players tended to avoid sliding head-first into a base to protect their hands and faces.
    Wussies. See--the true tough guys ARE the modern ball players...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  13. #12
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Is it possible to say that there are some players who slide headfirst faster, and others who slide feetfirst faster...can we have some gray area on this issue.

  14. #13
    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    I know MythBusters covered the slide - I could have sworn they also went over the head first slide.
    In other words...been there, done that.

  15. #14
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCinatit View Post
    I know MythBusters covered the slide - I could have sworn they also went over the head first slide.
    In other words...been there, done that.
    IIRC, their experiment was going from 1B to 2B, and getting there in the least amount of time.

    They looked at head first slide, feet first slide and running full speed and trying to stop and stay on the bag (which resulted in Grant twisting his ankle something fierce, IIARC).

    IIRC, running was the fastest, then head first, then feet first.

  16. #15
    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Study: Head first slides are faster

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    IIRC, their experiment was going from 1B to 2B, and getting there in the least amount of time.
    They looked at head first slide, feet first slide and running full speed and trying to stop and stay on the bag (which resulted in Grant twisting his ankle something fierce, IIARC).
    IIRC, running was the fastest, then head first, then feet first.
    I believe you're right (I really should have saved that episode). But, they did not take into account someone trying to apply a tag.


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